Saturn Experiment Yielded 25 Years of Innovation

1991 Saturn SC

Lindsay Chappell from Automotive News: As far as auto industry grand experiments go, Saturn lived a long life. From the time GM Chairman Roger Smith incorporated Saturn Corporation in 1985 until October 2010, when GM officially will bury the brand, it will be 25 years. Saturn gave us dent-resistant body panels, the three-door coupe, the no-haggle sales approach, a working model for friendly union-management relations, low-cost aluminum casting techniques, the concept of multiple-store franchises, environmentally oriented car advertising, dealer participation in factory issues, the science of color-matching paint-free plastic molding, GM's first female CEO, the automotive application of "black box" recorders and an alumni association of GM career men and women who spread throughout the corporation with a new kind of management enlightenment. In the end, Saturn morphed from subsidiary to mere GM brand "to help it compete in the future," executives explained. But helping it compete could not keep it alive. In the brutal world of the car business, the sad reality is that, in the words of a poet, "Death comes to all, but great achievements raise a monument which shall endure until the sun grows old."

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Video: Retailers Say Saturn Should be Saved

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Two brothers who own Saturn retail facilities in Michigan tell WJRT ABC 12 that they are holding out hope for Saturn. Both feel Saturn will survive this ordeal. "It's a special brand. The way we do business is different," Serra Automotive Group's Joe Serra told the television station.