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General Motors to Close Saturn Brand After Penske Drops Purchase Plans

General Motors (GM) will close down its Saturn brand of automobiles now that the Penske Automotive Group has called off a purchase of the division. The Detroit Free Press reports that the deal fell through because of a collapse in the deal Penske had made with the Renault-Nissan alliance to produce the new Saturn vehicles, "This is very disappointing news, and comes after months of hard work by hundreds of dedicated employees and Saturn retailers who tried to make the new Saturn a reality," says Fritz Henderson, GM's CEO, quoted in the Free Press. The Associated Press (AP) reports that GM will phase out Saturn by the end of 2011; more than 13,000 workers at Saturn dealers will be affected by the closing of the brand. Saturn is one of four brands that GM is eliminating in the United States as part of its bankruptcy-mandated reorganiztion; it will shut down Pontiac by the end of this year, has recently sold Saab to a Swedish company, and is in the process of a deal to sell Hummer to a Chinese company.

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