Retailers, Owners Shocked Over End of Saturn

Steve Manning from the Associated Press via MSNBC: Charlie Eickmeyer says he was a fan of Saturn vehicles years before he was able to drive. Today he's in shock. "It seemed like the deal was going through," said Eickmeyer, 34, who started following Saturn when he was 10 years old and now runs a Web site for enthusiasts of the brand. "I was really excited about the next chapter in Saturn's history." The chapter was supposed to be a future under former race car driver Roger Penske with the novel approach of filling dealerships with cars made overseas and rebranded as Saturns. Instead, the collapse of talks between GM and Penske Automotive Group Inc. this week likely means the end of the nearly 25-year-old brand, sending Saturn dealers like Martin and Day Automotive scrambling over what to do with their soon-to-be empty showrooms and leaving the company's loyal owners mourning the apparent demise of a company that built its reputation on customer care.

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Is America Ready for a Real European Car?

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The Astra's insides are well built and well trimmed if a bit austere, with lots of black, grey and silver plastic. You can tell the Astra wasn't designed in the US; it's a little shy on cupholders and there's no MP3 player input jack for the stereo. Still, as compact cars go it's marginally cheerier than the VW Rabbit's cabin, though not nearly as stylish as the Nissan Sentra or Honda Civic.