The Demise of Saturn Hurts

David Booth from the National Post: So, Saturn is no more. One more bastion of the U.S. auto empire sinks into the quicksand that has been The Great Recession. Its would-be saviour, Roger Penske, has pulled out of the deal quite dramatically one day prior to taking over the "Saturn Homecoming" brand. Penske's master plan was to find some other automaker that would pick up the slack in supplying 350 American (but no Canadian) dealers with a full lineup of cars and crossover SUVs after General Motors stopped supplying Vues, Auras and Outlooks two years hence. Last week, that dream fell apart. According to Penske, while the GM part of the deal was all but inked, the deal was called off because he could not guarantee a "future supply of vehicles beyond the supply period it had negotiated with GM." It looks to be a sad end to an experiment that should have been the domestic auto industry's future. Created in 1990 by Roger Smith, then CEO of General Motors, it was to be a "greenfield" project with none of the baggage of GM's many historic brands. Generating a customer loyalty other domestic marques could only dream about, Saturn was eventually choked into submission by a lack of new product, some say orchestrated by competing GM brand managers jealous of Saturn's exalted position in Smith's business plan. Of all the brands that The General has jettisoned, this is the one that hurts most.

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Flashback Friday: 1993 Saturn Shortage

Flashback Friday: 1993 Saturn Shortage

Back in the early days, Saturn was a bit of a phenomenon. As a new brand on the automotive landscape with a new way of doing business, folks came from miles around to check out their relatively unknown lineup of Tennessee-built plastic-bodied small cars. The trouble was that after kicking the tires and taking one for a spin around the block, customers usually wanted to buy one.