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Taking Delivery of Saturn Number Two • October 14, 2004

Sometimes saying thank you doesn't seem like enough. With this story, I wanted to try to document and share our second Saturn buying experience. I know there are a lot of folks who go unnamed in this story that worked behind the scenes to make our delivery so extra special. For that I am very grateful! I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone at Saturn Corporation, Saturn/UAW Local 1853, Scott Bean and the team at Saturn/West, the Central Ohio Saturn Car Club, members of this website, and especially Al Clapsaddle for making our experience so extraordinary.

Nearly two weeks ago my wife and I took delivery of our second Saturn, a shiny black front-wheel-drive 2005 Red Line Vue. That sunny October 2nd day is one that we will never forget. We had been eyeing the Red Line Vue for a few months, but when we finally decided to purchase one, '04 models equipped with the options we wanted were no longer available locally.

We approached our good friend and sales consultant at Saturn/West in Columbus, OH (also a Forums member and long-time supporter), Al "ClapDaddy" Clapsaddle, about the possibility of buying a Vue from him. He was very responsive and understood that we wanted to try to take advantage of the tempting GM SummerDrive incentives. He searched the country for a Vue that met our needs. Unfortunately, the closest Vues that he could find were located in Florida, California, and Arizona. We decided to wait for the '05 models.

When news of Saturn's new pricing strategy surfaced at the end of August, we knew there was no reason for us to wait until "next month" to see what the incentives were for 2005 models. The announcement that they would not raise prices or vary the incentives for the entire model year really made our decision an easy one. Labor Day weekend I called Al to let him know we were ready to place an order.

By the middle of the following week we received word that the order had been placed. At that time we assumed about a three-to-four week delivery time, and we began to make plans to travel 450 miles to pick up our new ride on October 2nd. We were pleasantly surprised to find that our Vue was actually built much quicker than we had anticipated. I don't know how it happened, but our Vue arrived at Saturn/West about a week-and-a-half after the order was placed. However, because of scheduling conflicts and previous plans, we decided that October 2nd would be still be the big day. It was a long two-week wait�

At around 3am on Saturday, October 2nd we pulled off I-270 in Ohio to stop for the night. We had reservations at a hotel in Hilliard, OH that I was hoping would be located close to the Saturn/West facility. What a surprise it was to find that we had to drive past the West store to get to our hotel. We quickly drove through the retailer lot looking for our Vue, but we had no luck � it must have been parked either in the back lot or inside the garage in a service bay. Weary from the long drive, we headed off to check into our hotel with our German Shepard and two guinea pigs in tow. We'd have to wait nine more hours to get our first look at our black beauty.

After a late breakfast we headed over to meet Al at around 12:30. We found Al and one of his colleagues standing outside of the store. He had us park behind some suspiciously familiar looking Saturns. I paused for a moment and thought about what might be going on, but quickly became distracted as Al approached to greet us in our car. We gathered up some papers, a camera, something to write with, and we headed inside. Needless to say that it was at this point in our journey that my memory gets a little fuzzy � the excitement, the anticipation, the surprises!

Everyone was so nice at Saturn/West. We were greeted and welcomed by so many of the staff. We made our way across the showroom floor and over to the "launch" area where our Vue was located. There was a sign congratulating us on our purchase. The Vue was beautiful! Al mentioned that there were some people who had wanted to meet us, and then he took us around to the other side of the vehicle. To our surprise there were nearly a dozen SaturnFans and Central Ohio CarClub members there waiting for us to arrive, including: Fotovue, Lml_studio and his wife, OhioVueBoy, Rossao1 and his son, Silvervoo, Spazie and her brother, and YELO_SC2. Cronus joined the group later in the day. It was great being able to associate faces with usernames! The group presented us with very nice gifts � some of which they said they drove many, many miles to collect. Apparently we weren't the only ones up late the night before! Al and Spazie did a really good job organizing such an impressive crowd.

After a few minutes, we were introduced to the used car manager. We proceeded to go with him on a test drive in the 1998 Chevrolet Malibu that we hoped to trade in. He offered what we felt was a very fair price for the car, and we were relieved and excited to move forward with the rest of the sales process. We now knew that we wouldn't be driving two cars home!

Back inside the retailer, we had a chance to talk more with everyone and get a closer look at the Vue (which already had a pair of SaturnFans license plate frames installed). I never saw so many helium-filled balloons inside a vehicle. We had a chance to sit behind the wheel to take in the new car smell and to check out the leather wrapped steering wheel, six-disc CD/MP3 player, sunroof, and leather seats. Then we went to the back of the vehicle to review the new-for-2005 rear spoiler. Unlike the previous spoiler that I had seen installed on some Vues, this one slopes downward and doesn't extend as far back or as high. However, it does seem to do a very good job of keeping the back of the Vue clean and free of dust and dirt.

Soon thereafter, Al introduced us to a couple of Saturn/West management folks and a representative from Saturn Corporation who came to show their appreciation as 'fans' of Everyone gathered around the Vue as Al presented my wife with a bouquet of flowers and thanked her for her support and understanding for all the time I spend maintaining the website. He said a few additional words of appreciation, and then he proceeded to shower us with what seemed like an endless presentation of gifts, including a brand new Dell PC with a flat panel monitor! Receiving a new PC was especially timely, because we just started having some problems with our old computer. The Dell has already been put to good use!

After the parade of gifts, we took a couple group photos and headed upstairs to see a special 'Congratulations Charlie and Heather' sheet cake that was made for us. We then went back downstairs to discuss some final options and sign paperwork. With the paperwork complete, Al spent a good amount of time giving us an overview of the Vue and its features, making sure that we were familiar with the layout and operation of the controls in the cabin and under the hood. We then had a very informative tour of the facility and were introduced to even more of his teammates. It was a very impressive store; one of the nicest facilities we've visited (and we've stopped at quite a few on our travels around the country).

Around 4 hours and 22 minutes after we first arrived at Saturn/West, our delivery was complete (a Clapsaddle record I've been told). A month of eager anticipation was finally over, and we had the keys to our new Red Line in hand. Unfortunately, many of the Saturn fans who had come to take part in our delivery couldn't stay until the end, so we weren't able to spend as much time talking with everyone as I would've liked. However, three Saturn fans � Fotovue, Spazie, and Spazie's brother � did hang around until the end of the delivery. Hungry and tired, we headed across the street for some appetizers at Chili's. The five of us had a lively discussion about Saturn,, and life in general. Afterwards, Heather and I headed back to Homewood Suites to walk and feed our dog. At around six o'clock, we headed back to Saturn/West to meet up with Al and the remaining SaturnFans crew for dinner at Lone Star steakhouse. At the restaurant, we were surprised to find that Al had arranged for us to be seated at a specially decorated table with a banner congratulating us on our purchase hanging from the ceiling. It was quite a site! We also had the pleasure of meeting Al's wife and daughter. They're a real nice family, and we wish we could've had more time to talk with them. Unfortunately, as the clock approached nine o'clock we all had to go our separate ways. A day that I will never forget was over. I sure did sleep well that night�

In the almost two weeks since picking up the Vue, we've driven her over 600 miles. The ride home from Ohio was difficult only because we were careful to follow the recommended vehicle break-in procedures. With all of our pets, our luggage, a computer, and all the gifts that had been given to us, we really got to test the Vue's cargo hauling capacity. We fit everybody and everything inside with room to spare. As the temperatures dropped on our Sunday night drive home, we were quickly appreciated the warmth of the (very comfortable) heated leather seats.

News of our incredible delivery spread fast once we got home. We have shared this story with family and friends (some of whom are Saturn skeptics). Incidentally, Heather was in a seminar about customer service later the following week and was asked to talk about her best and worst customer service experiences. She told her class about what Al and Saturn put together to make our Saturn purchase so spectacular.

I had hoped to post this story online sooner, but some out-of-town business travel kept me not only from behind the wheel of our new Vue, but away from my PC. Despite multiple revisions to this story, I still don't feel that my words adequately express the sincere appreciation we have for everything that Al and everyone at all levels within Saturn, Saturn/West, and did to make our delivery so special. I still look back on that day with amazement and awe. We bought the Vue from Al because we wanted to show our support to a friend who has always been supportive to us and the Saturn community. We never expected such an overwhelming outpouring of appreciation towards us � afterall, we just came to buy a car! Al went above and beyond our wildest expectations and clearly pulled out all the stops to make sure that we had a day to remember. Needless to say, when it comes time to fill out our evaluation survey form we will once again note that we were completely satisfied with our Saturn buying experience. I say, I say, I say, Saturn!!!

Some pictures from our delivery are now online.

Our 2005 Vue Options

  • 6-Disc Stereo
  • Comfort package
  • Head curtain air bags
  • Leather seats
  • Rear bumper pad
  • Rear spoiler
  • Redline package
  • Sunroof

List of Gifts

  • Black Saturn badge
  • Bouquet of flowers
  • Dell PC with LCD flat panel display
  • Dinner at Lone Star steakhouse
  • GM Performance Division badge
  • Jungle Jack Hanna coloring book
  • Saturn and CarClub flags of various sizes
  • Saturn blimp Hot Wheels toy
  • Saturn construction cone
  • Saturn handkerchiefs
  • Saturn mugs
  • Saturn pens
  • Saturn pins
  • Saturn shirts
  • Saturn water bottle
  • Vue Red Line floor mats

Again, thank you everyone who helped make this possible!

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