GM shutting down Saturn

DETROIT (AP) General Motors says it will shut down the Saturn brand after an agreement to sell it to Penske Automotive Group fell apart.

The dealership headed by Roger Penske walked away after it was unable to find a manufacturer to supply vehicles to it after a contract with GM runs out in 2011. A tentative deal for Saturn was announced in June. GM CEO Fritz Henderson issued a statement that Saturn and its dealership network will be phased out.

The now failed deal was part of GM's effort to avoid liquidation, as it went through bankruptcy protection, and also announced plans to shed its Saab, Pontiac and Hummer brands.

The effort with Penske was initially expected to save Saturn's 350 dealerships, and a pledge was made in June to keep all 13,000 Saturn employees, at least initially.

GM said Saturn vehicle owners can still go to their Saturn dealer for service and would be able to go to a certified GM dealer for service once Saturn dealerships are closed.

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