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Old 11-01-2012, 11:30 AM   #1
red1
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Default GM Closes Saturn...Why?

Maybe an old topic..But has there ever been any discussion as to why GM closed Saturn? I mean I was cussing the engine design while taking off the air intake manifold and trying to figure out all the wiring harness connections..just to change out the plugs..thermostat, etc. But other auto manufacturers undoubtedly have done the same thing for their vehicles..Closing a company for that seems..wrong.

But considering I use to see a lot of Saturn product traveling around the country, before their demise..just wondered if it was pure politics or actual economic reasons..

Thoughts?

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Old 11-01-2012, 01:21 PM   #2
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Default Re: GM Closes Saturn...Why?

underhood engine designs were the LEAST of Saturn's problems. and for the most part if you have a V6 engine, better be prepared for A LOT of cursing, as pretty much ALL V6 engines (regardless of manufacturerer) LOVE to use the intake manifolds to block spark plugs off and other such things that make you wonder WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!?! and if you even find a simple-ish IM (like on Toyotas) the underhood design+FWD still makes it to where three of the spark plugs are a pain... two reasons why for the most part I'll never own a V6, especially a FWD one. and just so ya know this has been going on since at least the 90s.. remember the Essex V6 3.8L engine? Even in the Mustangs, Rangers, other V6 RWD apps the IM still blocks three of the spark plugs.

as for Saturn's demise. it's been beaten to death a MILLION and one times at least... but for a TL;DR (or perhaps TL;DS), it can be summed up as such:

* G.M. ran Saturn into the ground
* Corporate mismanagement
* Too much in-house ripping off
* Saturn losing its identity
* and Roger Penske chose not to save Saturn in the end.

...
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: GM Closes Saturn...Why?

Economics. Whatever the cause, Saturn wasn't making money. GM had too many brands, and getting rid of a brand is extremely difficult and costly. Bankruptcy gave GM the opportunity to shed brands without it costing a fortune.

Saturn couldn't afford to stay independent; they didn't make money to develop their own cars. The cars became shared models with the rest of GM. That resulted in too much redundancy. They can differentiate models so much (for example, the Outlook, Traverse, Acadia, and Enclave).

While I wish Saturn was still around, GM needed to shed brands. GM is in a better place with fewer brands and less redundancy. It would not make sense to kill one of the remaining brands to keep Saturn; they all have a much greater market potential. I just wish the Saturn retailer network and concept could have been saved.

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Old 11-01-2012, 09:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: GM Closes Saturn...Why?

It's worth the discussion, especially as newer members discover the brand and this web site. It's a fascinating story and to me, it doesn't get old.

I wish someone would chronicle the rise and fall in a comprehensive book. Name the names, the villains and heroes.

The chapter on "Who Did That To The ION?" would be enough for me to plunk my money down.

In the meantime, the back story of the brand for people who are just getting into Saturns is as much a part of appreciating the cars as is the cars themselves.

The tale is going to be interesting for many years to come. Like people are still discovering the legacies of Studebaker, Packard, AMC, Nash, Hudson, Kaiser and Frazer, Saturn's story will continue to provoke interest and comment.

I'd buy the book, if someone would write it, of Chrysler's Daimler/Cerberus years alone. As automotive history it would be a page turner.

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Old 11-02-2012, 10:48 AM   #5
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Default Re: GM Closes Saturn...Why?

The last new auto I bought, before the 03 vue was an 89 MR2, new, and an 86 1/2 ton ford pickup in 93..So I plead ignorance to the cramped style of the FWD, V6 engines..Would imagine it had to do with style..length and wheelbase.

Hard to imagine the brand couldn't or wasn't making any money..or that if they were it wasn't being poured back into the improvements of the vehicle...I may have misunderstood what was being said there.

I remember when GM was first talking about the new brand...no dealship negotiations...one set price. Which was what I experienced back in March of 03...

I agree..pity the termination of the brand didn't lend to a oem type of mfg base.

...
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Old 11-03-2012, 03:43 AM   #6
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Default Re: GM Closes Saturn...Why?

I've posted this elsewhere, but I think this is pretty a pretty accurate story about Saturn's demise:

http://www.forbes.com/2010/03/08/sat...g-failure.html

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Old 11-03-2012, 08:49 AM   #7
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Default Re: GM Closes Saturn...Why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cityhawk View Post
I've posted this elsewhere, but I think this is pretty a pretty accurate story about Saturn's demise:

http://www.forbes.com/2010/03/08/sat...g-failure.html
That's good read.

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Old 11-03-2012, 09:01 AM   #8
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Default Re: GM Closes Saturn...Why?

Re: Forbes article: Perfect summation and a text book example of why GM [in particular] and the UAW deserve each other.

Is it any wonder why Saturn buyers had the smallest percentage of owners who would consider a GM car when it came time to replace their Saturns after the closure? Much lower than Olds or Pontiac.

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Old 11-08-2012, 10:23 PM   #9
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Default Re: GM Closes Saturn...Why?

Thanks, Cityhawk. That's an excellent summation. I like your avatar, too.

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Old 11-10-2012, 03:04 PM   #10
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Default Re: GM Closes Saturn...Why?

Discussed ad nauseum.

The article provided by cityhawk covers the downfall of Saturn quite well.

Adventure of Link - how many times do I have to say it? I do not blame Penske for the demise of Saturn. His efforts were in hindsight too little, too late.

Nissan-Renault's Board of Directors and US dealer networks did not want rebadged Sentras (Samsung SM3s) sold under the Saturn nameplate and rejected the deal. Penske looked at PSA until coming to the realization that importing Peugeots from Europe was a logistical nightmare as well as a financial liability. Left with no other alternative, Penske threw up his hands in the eleventh hour.

Blame lies with the old GM for corporate ineptitude, the UAW's stubborn nature and Chevrolet for being the greedy pig at the resource trough (although I have always been fond of the Corvette, the '70-'77 Monte Carlo and the soon-to-be-axed Avalanche).

The best way to keep the spirit of Saturn alive is to find a used one and keep it running for as long as you can.


...
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:24 AM   #11
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Default Re: GM Closes Saturn...Why?

Advancing technology vs maintaining the status quo is a problem you see a lot of in the aerospace business..Composites tech is a good example..been around a while but never developed to the point it is now (boeing) until you get a company like airbus using it on new models (380) which drives boeing to start looking real hard at it (787)..

Another huge development, which took boeing years to drive hard on, is matched hole assembly...The old way..take a floor beam assembly..all the clips, stiffeners , intercostals...et al, took a design tool to properly locate these small parts on the beam..Now the company uses matched hole technology..iow, matching holes in the parts to matching holes in the beam..

My vue has lots of examples of this...the bracket on the engine which attaches to the motor mount bolted to the frame..betcha in the old days of auto build those holes would either be hard tooled to the block or drilled through the bracket while hard tooled to the block...now, with the accuracies of cnc (computer numerical control) equipement, it is a simple matter of designing the parts to what is called an orthogonal data system. That is to say the parts with the holes are hard called out to datums which both parts share..

But getting the old hat managers to go along with this matched hole philosophy...was a fight similar to the one building primary structure with composites..which most aircraft are now using extensively...

The IAM, wasn't all that crazy about using new tech either...for if the flowcharts (detailed build schedules) weren't completed on schedule, they figured they would get beat up by upper management...like they had so many times before...whether is was a mechanic screwup or design problem.

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Old 11-12-2012, 08:39 PM   #12
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Default Re: GM Closes Saturn...Why?

GM Closes Saturn...Why?


MONEY

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