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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Flashback Friday: The Legend of the Saturn SL3


The mysterious Saturn SL3 is the loch ness monster of the Saturn world. Some have witnessed proof of its existence, but only a few have seen it and I'm not aware of any photos of the vehicle. I've been told that if you can imagine a first-generation SL2 sedan with a SC2 grafted on the front-end, you'd have a good picture in your head of the SL3. Significantly, it was powered by an 2.5L 30-valve inline six-cylinder powerplant (five valves per cylinder!) that reportedly produced around 250 hp.