Later tonight the giant ball in Times Square will be lowered when the clock strikes twelve and 2010 will come to an end. It's been a emotional year for Saturn employees, owners, and fans; October 31st marked the end of General Motors' grand Saturn experiment. Of all the news articles I've written for SaturnFans.com over the past 15 years, this one has been by far the hardest for me to write. Saying goodbye is never easy, and this time is no different. To me Saturn was more than just another car or company: it represented a fresh approach to running a business, and more significantly, it was a symbolic entry in America's ideological battle against the best vehicles the "import" car companies had to offer.
Jamie Lareau from Automotive News: Jill Lajdziak, who joined Saturn before its first car was sold and led the division through its demise last month, will retire from General Motors at the end of the year. Lajdziak, 52, will take vacation time until then, said spokesman John McDonald. In the interim, GM's Steve Hill, will coordinate the wind-down of the Saturn brand.
Peter Brown from Automotive News: At 75, Saturn megadealer Don Hudler figures he's going to stick with the brand till the fat lady sings. "We're diehards. We'll probably go to the bitter end," Hudler, the former chairman of Saturn Corp., said last week after the shocking news that Roger Penske's deal to buy the Saturn brand had collapsed.
From the Balancing Act: If shopping for a vehicle strikes fear in your heart, we've got a story that puts you in the drivers seat! This segment focuses on one brand that takes customer service and the retail experience to the next level. Kim McGill, Director of Advertising and Promotions at Saturn, talks about the Saturn retail experience.
General Motors' CEO Fritz Henderson addressed GM employees via the video where he shared his personal views on what the bankruptcy means to the company.
From the Associated Press by way of the NYT: Saturn General Manager Jill Lajdziak said the brand, once billed as a different kind of car company, most likely will be sold, given the interest of several buyers who have surfaced. She says GM will take other bids for the brand until June 1.
Automotive News recently talked with GM's new CEO, Fritz Henderson, about the state of General Motors and how he plans to fulfill the restructuring demands made by the Obama administration. While most of the interview focused on the company's new so-called core brands, the UAW, and it bloated dealership body, Henderson did discuss Saturn's desire to be spun-off, becoming independent of GM.
Peter Valdes-Dapena from CNNMoney.com: Abandoned and facing death as General Motors cuts brands in its own fight for survival, Saturn, the "different kind of car company," could soon become a very, very different kind of car company just to survive. GM has said it will stop producing Saturn vehicles in about two years. Rather than accept that it's over, Saturn executives and the brand's leading dealers are looking at new ways - some that have never been tried before - to keep Saturn alive. "When times are tough, that's when the biggest breakthrough's come," said Jill Lajdziak, Saturn's General Manager.
From the Hub magazine: Between the time we spoke with Jill Lajdziak and the publication of this interview, General Motors announced plans to close Saturn. Well, here's another news flash: This doesn't necessarily mean the end for Saturn. And it certainly does not change the enlightened view Saturn brings to automotive retailing. Saturn was never designed to be a "luxury" automobile, but you'd never know that while visiting one of its state-of-the-art showrooms.
A letter from Saturn General Manager Jill Lajdziak: From our very beginning, Saturn has always sought a better way. We pioneered no haggle-no hassle shopping, built dent-resistant cars, set a new benchmark for customer service and forged a unique relationship with our retailers, workers and customers. From the beginning, Saturn was launched as a "Different kind of Car Company." Well, here we go again. You may have read that General Motors delivered a plan to the U.S. government that outlined the corporation's plan for long term viability. In that plan, GM stated that Saturn would work with its retailers to investigate options for the future of the Saturn brand. We said that all ideas were on the table and we meant it.