GM May Complete Saturn Shutdown by the End of March, Not October 2010 as Previously Announced

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From AutoWeek: "All of our efforts will be to sell down our remaining 2009 inventory," Susan Docherty, GM's vice president of U.S. sales, said today at a press event. "We'll have a little bit of carryover of that into the first quarter of 2010, but the objective is to keep our inventory somewhere between 425,000 to 450,000 units." Docherty said she is confident that GM will clear out the 2009-model-year inventory by January. Meanwhile, the company likely will shutter its Pontiac and Saturn brands by the end of the first quarter, Docherty said. GM has only about 10,000 Pontiac vehicles left and 8,000 Saturns, she said. "We're actually winding down those products quicker than we had anticipated," he said.

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Flashback Friday: How Saturn Built a Brand

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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."