John McElroy: Why Saturn Failed

John McElroy from Autoline Detroit via AutoBlog: In the early 1980s General Motors launched a top-secret program to figure out how it could build a small car to successfully compete against the Japanese automakers. It was called the S-car program and the results of this study shocked top management at GM. It conclusively proved General Motors could not profitably build a small car in the United States that was priced against the Japanese — at least not under the current GM system. And that launched another study to figure out what it would take become competitive. GM concluded that it needed a clean-sheet approach to designing, engineering, manufacturing and retailing small cars in the American market. In other words, it needed a whole new car company. And so Saturn was born. To use a military analogy Saturn represented a beachhead for General Motors. It had successfully invaded enemy territory, and now had a toehold where it could capture import buyers. And sure enough, Saturn was definitely bringing in customers who otherwise would never by any other General Motors' products. Saturn walked away from its customer base. Instead of telling Saturn it had to live off its own cash flow, GM should have poured whatever it took into keeping that beachhead. Had it done so, the results could have been far different. But in the end the effort to save Saturn was too little too late. Just like Oldsmobile.

Random Article from the SaturnFans.com Archives

New "2 Mode" Hybrid Model Headlines Changes in Store for Saturn's 2009 Vue

Tags:
2009 Vue 2 Mode Green Line Hybrid

The Saturn Vue, completely redesigned for 2008, makes history just one model year into its launch when the 2009 Saturn Vue 2 Mode Hybrid goes into production in late 2008. It is expected to be the world's most fuel-efficient V-6 SUV, providing an estimated 50-percent increase in fuel economy compared to the non-hybrid Vue XR.