Sudden Death of Saturn Marks End of GM Dream

Paul A. Eisenstein from MSNBC: It's been nearly a quarter-century since General Motors Chairman Roger Smith stunned the automotive world by announcing that GM would create an all-new car division, called Saturn. But 25 years later, Saturn's once high-tech factory, and Saturn itself, are closing down, testimonies to the failures of Smith, and the CEOs who followed him, to fix GM's problems. GM announced late Wednesday it would close down the division, at the cost of some 13,000 jobs, after a deal to sell the brand to Penske Automotive Group fell through. aturn was going to be far more than just another brand, but effectively an autonomous company-within-a-company, charged with taking on the increasingly powerful Asian imports. It was one of the grandest schemes to emerge from the 14th floor at GM's old Detroit headquarters, where the squeaky-voiced Smith was giddily investing tens of billions of dollars in a bid to rebuild the increasingly troubled GM. The announcement set off a flurry of hope and expectations, and even triggered a bidding war among the dozens of states which hoped to land the Saturn plant — and the jobs promised to go with it. Tennessee eventually won the competition, and a plant was built in Spring Hill. "People expected the car to lift off its wheels and fly," recalled the late Skip LeFauve, who ran the Saturn operation from shortly after its heavily hyped announcement.

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Pucker Up: Saturn Fans Invited to "Kiss My Astra" in Online Photo Contest

Kiss My Astra

While the website has been online for a few days, Saturn officially launched the "Kiss My Astra" national photo contest earlier today, offering Saturn fans an opportunity to show just how much they would love to win a new Saturn Astra. Contestants can kiss their own Astra, a friend's Astra, or drop by any Saturn retailer and kiss their Astra, and then upload a photo of the kiss at www.ImSaturn.com. The contestant with the funniest, most creative photo – as selected by the online Saturn community – will win a 2008 Saturn XR 5-door.

Even Bob Lutz entered some photos!