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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NY Times: GM Had Considered Selling Saturn Earlier this Fall, May Now Buy Out Saturn Retailers

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Bill Vlasic from the New York Times reported yesterday that GM is exploring the idea of "a significant shrinking of its North American operations, including shutting more factories and streamlining its sprawling brand lineup, according to people with knowledge of GM's deliberations. One move under discussion, for example, would have GM buy out dealers that exclusively sell Saturns and market the cars through its Buick-Pontiac-GMC dealers instead."