Flashback Friday: First Saturn Sold Today in 1990

On this date in 1990, Saturn sold its first car. According to the St. Petersburg Times, the first Saturn - the blue SL2 sedan shown above - was sold just after midnight to Elaine Terry at Saturn of Clearwater. "I wanted an American-made car and decided to give it a try," Mrs. Terry told the newspaper. It was a 25th wedding anniversary present. USA Today and CNN were reportedly at the retail facility to document the event. "I kept it for 10 months and put over 5,000 miles on it. People all over the country wanted to buy the car from me. One man in Las Vegas was talking up to $100,000 for it." However, after some discussion with Saturn of Clearwater, she decided to sell it back to them so it could be put on display at the store. "We gave her two 1992 cars of her choice to get that original car back," recalls Scott Harlib, general manager of Saturn of Clearwater. "I got a new car and the other one went to my son, who was in college at the time and needed a car," she said. In addition, after talking about her car and ownership experiences at local dealership events in the months after her purchase, Saturn hired Mrs. Terry in 1992 to do public relations work for the company.

Source: St. Petersburg Times

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Flashback Friday: How Saturn Built a Brand

Saturn Logo

Saturn launched its lineup of compact sedans and coupes in the fall of 1990 as an relatively unknown and untested manufacturer of "a different kind of car." The Saturn team did the impossible by implementing a set of strategies that included building quality vehicles and crafting an intriguing message that attracted car buyers who had written off domestic cars long ago. That was no small feat. In his book, "Building Strong Brands," author David Aaker set out to "not only to describe what was done but also to suggest the logic behind the strategies: why they were pursued, and how they were intended to contribute to the brand." He concluded that "although certainly some elements of the Saturn strategy may have been critical, it was the synergy of the total program rather than the power of any single element - that led to its success."