Opinion: The Ride’s Over for Saturn Lovers

From the Ventura County Star: Started in 1985 to compete with small, fuel-efficient Japanese imports, Saturn was meant to operate independently of the parent company — and for a while it did, building an enthusiastic customer base — almost cultlike — that it hosted for an annual reunion and picnic at its Spring Hill, Tennessee, plant. Unfortunately, the brand never made money and the plant quit making Saturns in 2007. But, to hear Saturn buffs tell it, the massive GM bureaucracy intruded more and more in the running of the company, and it was slow to introduce new models in a fast-changing market. And Saturn, with its smaller cars, faced a lot of competition. Say what you will about gas guzzlers, they deliver great profit margins. Car lovers can only look at the Saturn experiment and think of what might have been. Saturn's specialty was low-key showrooms, no-haggle pricing and obsessive customer service.

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Saturn's Future Product Roadmap

Jill Lajdziak, vice president of Saturn sales and marketing, talked to retailers on Sunday at the 2004 NADA conference. She spoke about the future of the brand, the importance of maintaining Saturn's high level of customer satisfaction, and increasing brand awareness through advertising. The list below highlights some of her discussion points.