Some Saturn Owners, Retailers Have a Special Relationship with Vanishing Brand

2005 Vue Red Line at Saturn/West in Columbus, Ohio

Dan Gearino from the Columbus Dispatch via the Boston Herald: The toughest part for Saturn fans was the suddenness. For months, Penske Automotive Group worked on plans to buy the Saturn brand from General Motors. And then, in an instant last week, the deal evaporated. Saturn is now slated to wind down over the next year. "We were caught off guard as much as everyone," said Steve Whitman of Clintonville, vice president of the Central Ohio Saturn Car Club. Penske walked away from the deal after being unable to find a manufacturer to make Saturns after a contract with GM runs out in 2011. There's been no word on another buyer emerging. "Our initial shock was, 'Gee, what happens now?' " Whitman said. The question is doubly important for Al Clapsaddle. He was one of the club's founders, and then in 2001 he retired from his job at Lucent Technologies and became a salesman at Saturn of Columbus West in Hilliard. "Many things go through my mind," he said. "First off was anger. I was really mad and I didn't know who to be mad at. I wanted to look somebody in the eye and say, 'What the heck?'"

Random Article from the SaturnFans.com Archives

Flashback Friday: How Saturn Built a Brand

Saturn Logo

Saturn launched its lineup of compact sedans and coupes in the fall of 1990 as an relatively unknown and untested manufacturer of "a different kind of car." The Saturn team did the impossible by implementing a set of strategies that included building quality vehicles and crafting an intriguing message that attracted car buyers who had written off domestic cars long ago. That was no small feat. In his book, "Building Strong Brands," author David Aaker set out to "not only to describe what was done but also to suggest the logic behind the strategies: why they were pursued, and how they were intended to contribute to the brand." He concluded that "although certainly some elements of the Saturn strategy may have been critical, it was the synergy of the total program rather than the power of any single element - that led to its success."