Washington Post: GM Should Rethink Saturn, Consider Big Change

Warren Brown from the Washington Post: I am a great admirer of Jill Lajdziak, general manager of GM's Saturn Division. She has fought the good fight, greatly improved Saturn's manufacturing efficiencies and product quality, and expanded the division's product offerings. Ironically, Lajdziak's success is why Saturn must now be folded into Chevrolet. The truth is that Saturn was established in 1985 for the sole purpose of shaking up GM's middle management, shocking it into the realization that GM is a car company, that GM's original rise to greatness was wedded to great products and great customer service. Saturn was the brainchild of the late Roger B. Smith, a GM chairman with the persona of a Main Street banker who was determined to prove that GM could design, sell and service good cars - even if he had to start another GM company to do it. In that regard, Saturn served its purpose. By any objective measure, GM's overall product quality is now world-competitive. Customer handling at most GM dealerships has been "Saturnized" - meaning that most GM customers nowadays are likely to be treated with respect and common sense in GM dealerships. Saturn worked. But Saturn's product offerings are no different from what can be found at a lower price at Chevrolet. Saturn has no distinct personality in the marketplace. Chevrolet does. There is no real reason Saturn should continue as a separate entity.

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