NY Times: With Saturn, GM Failed a Makeover

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Micheline Maynard and Mary Chapman from the New York Times penned what is probably one of the most thorough analyses of Saturn with a historical perspective in recent memory. The article talks about significant events from Saturn's past that ultimately ended up transforming the company into the brand you see today. It's a must read for anyone looking for a quick recap on the history of Saturn. One especially interesting fact mentioned: "unless Saturn sales rise sharply in December, this year the division will sell fewer than 200,000 vehicles, for the first time since 1992."

Read an excerpt from the article below; click the "original article" link for the full story.

General Motors has promised Congress that it can recreate itself as a different kind of car company — smaller, with a more cooperative relationship with its union, and a lineup of fuel-efficient cars to compete with the best of the foreign brands. At least G.M. knows how difficult the challenge will be. A quarter-century ago, GM started Project Saturn with the same goals. And it worked, for a time. Saturn owners, including many who traded in their Hondas and Toyotas to own the first models in 1990, became cheerleaders for the division’s customer-friendly approach, while the United Automobile Workers union gave up many of its traditional restrictions to help Saturn succeed. The brand became a media darling, and was featured on the cover of Time. "Can America still compete?" said the headline. "With its new Saturn, GM bets the answer is yes." But Saturn quickly started losing its shine. G.M. executives cut spending, and shoppers flocked to SUVs. Eventually, many workers resisted the new management style. Now the brand that was once a symbol of GM's future will have a bit part, at most.

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