Editorial: Saturn Fell Prey to GM, UAW Bungling

From the Detroit News: Prospects for GM's Saturn division dimmed with the Penske Automotive Group's failed bid to keep the nameplate's dealer network alive. But the division's problems began long before GM's bankruptcy and downsizing. GM management and the United Auto Workers union both sabotaged the ideas behind Saturn. The division began as a model for regaining market share from Japanese automakers, improving dealer service and reforming labor practices. With collaboration and more flexible work rules, a no-pressure dealer sales strategy and a peppier product made in a Spring Hill, Tennessee plant, Saturn could have helped spread reforms to other GM brands. It initially gained customers who owned Japanese vehicles. But Saturn soon became just another cog in the GM machine. Executives didn't invest in upgrading the Saturn lines. Also chipping away at Saturn was Stephen Yokich, who took over as UAW president in 1993. He disliked how Saturn broke with the UAW contract pattern.

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Breaking News: Saturn to be Spun Off from General Motors, Brand to Return to Its Roots as a Different Kind of Car Company

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Hot on the heels of Rick Wagoner's announcement yesterday evening that Saturn faces an uncertain future at General Motors, comes news that plans have already been set in motion to separate the import-fighting brand from the faltering auto giant. The resulting entity will be a new, independent car company that's able to source cars from other automakers built to Saturn's specifications.