Retailer Recounts Details of Sudden Saturn Closure

Barbara Wieland from the Lansing State Journal: Sherrill Freeborough is finding there is life after Saturn. Freeborough was one of 340 Saturn dealers left hanging when GM's deal to sell the division to Penske Automotive Group collapsed September 30. GM quickly halted Saturn production - including dropping the Outlook crossover made at its Lansing Delta Township assembly plant - and began shutting down the brand. "It was sickening, disheartening," said the normally upbeat, optimistic Freeborough. "It took some time for the reality of it to sink in." Freeborough said the sudden death of Saturn took dealers, salespeople and even Saturn executives by surprise. "(Saturn General Manager) Jill Lajdziak was working on her press release about Saturn joining Penske when word came through," Freeborough said. "Saturn workers had gotten their Penske business cards earlier that day. It sure crushed a lot of dealers' hearts."

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Virtual Polymer Body-Side Panel Demonstration

SaturnFest 2009

Over the years, one of Saturn's most impressive features was their innovative plastic polymer body panels that it used to cloth it's cars in. The panels resisted damage from small dents, dings, and minor bumps — they proved to be very popular among Saturn owners. The panels simply absorbed the impact, and bounced back into their original form. Back in the day, if you went to your local Saturn retailer, the sales folks would eagerly show you how well the panels worked by either pounding on the side of a car with their fists, or by inviting you to jump up and down on a sample door panel laying on the floor. No matter how hard you tried, the panels always went back to their original shape.