Opinion: Fiat Should Have Teamed with Saturn Instead of Chrysler

David Booth from the Fast Lane via MSN Autos: I also suspect that in my perfect world that Fiat would not have bought Chrysler. Come to think of it, after visiting Chrysler's research and development facilities recently, methinks that in Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne's perfect world, he too would not have bought Chrysler. According to Business Week, it came as a surprise to Fiat's major domo that Chrysler's future development cupboard was bare save for a Grand Cherokee and the 300 sedan. Perhaps he should have been reading Yours Truly - as well as a number of other journalists - who noted that during this recent economic collapse, Ann Arbor basically shut down. It also might seem harsh of me, but except for some rare successes like the Dodge Ram, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Journey, there's really not much to save in Chrysler's lineup. The big question on every auto pundit's lips is how the company will survive the 18 to 24 months until the Fiat association can start paying dividends. Sales of existing models are way down and the company's plants are running far below capacity. In the end, what Mr. Marchionne is getting from the Chrysler takeover is a distribution network and, considering the recent news surrounding Roger Penske's pullout, he might have been better off with, wait for it, Saturn. Before you dismiss this as one mojito too many (and admittedly, the germ of this idea was hatched sipping on 151-proof Bacardi), at least with Saturn, Mr. Marchionne would have known he was only getting a distributor network. And a good one at that.

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Owner Story: My Spring Hill Homecoming... 14 Years Too Late

Spring Hill Barn

I had a rare opportunity to visit the Spring Hill assembly plant this week. This was business and technical trip - not a tour. As I understand it, they are no longer giving tours. Perhaps that will change when the new SUV type vehicle (Chevrolet Traverse) makes it to mass market. I can't say I was excited to see the new vehicle, but I'm really biased toward plastic Saturns.