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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