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Old 04-06-2009, 12:03 AM   #1
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Default Newsweek: Saturn was Supposed to Save GM

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Newsweek: Saturn was Supposed to Save GM

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Paul Ingrassia from Newsweek: It's hard to remember a time when the top man at GM was the most celebrated industrialist in America, maybe even the world. But that was the case on January 8, 1985, when Roger Smith convened a press conference in Detroit to make what he billed a "historic announcement." But on this wintry day in Detroit, Smith would make his biggest gamble yet: unveiling the Saturn, GM's first new brand in 70 years. More than just a car, it would be a stand-alone subsidiary

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Old 04-06-2009, 12:16 AM   #2
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Default Re: Newsweek: Saturn was Supposed to Save GM

A very good article!

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Old 04-06-2009, 06:51 AM   #3
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Default Re: Newsweek: Saturn was Supposed to Save GM

Excellent article...sums it up perfectly. A bunch of GM execs and UAW leaders all protecting their little empires. Their mantra: "God forbid this little upstart called Saturn succeed, it might just illustrate how inept and redundant the rest of us are". So typical and so sad.

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Old 04-06-2009, 07:54 AM   #4
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Default Re: Newsweek: Saturn was Supposed to Save GM

I too agree, great article. It's just sad to see because of power struggles within GM and the UAW Saturn and GM are where they are today. Too bad they couldn't think outside the box and see the greater picture and the value Saturn had to GM.

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Old 04-06-2009, 08:39 AM   #5
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Question Re: Newsweek: Saturn was Supposed to Save GM

Now who'll save Saturn?

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Old 04-06-2009, 08:53 AM   #6
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Default Re: Newsweek: Saturn was Supposed to Save GM

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Now who'll save Saturn?

Jesus saves.
Repent, ye sinners!

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Old 04-06-2009, 10:59 AM   #7
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Default Re: Newsweek: Saturn was Supposed to Save GM

"The Obama administration is contemplating splitting GM in two, dividing the "good" from the "bad" — a plan that, if adopted, would essentially treat Saturn as a toxic asset to be sold off like so much subprime"

Well these guys are politicians and influence by public opinion
just send them our gm petition to save Saturn.
Yell at them....email them ..... it can be very toxic at election time

Be a pain in the s

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Old 04-06-2009, 07:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: Newsweek: Saturn was Supposed to Save GM

A very good article - an even more telling cautionary tale. Is the General paying attention? We'll see soon enough.


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Old 04-06-2009, 07:10 PM   #9
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Default Re: Newsweek: Saturn was Supposed to Save GM

And to think there was a time we thought Smith was a jerk, and Wagoneer a saviour....

Skip must be turnin over in his grave about now...

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Old 04-06-2009, 09:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: Newsweek: Saturn was Supposed to Save GM

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Originally Posted by unkle bik View Post
And to think there was a time we thought Smith was a jerk, and Wagoneer a saviour....

Skip must be turnin over in his grave about now...

In Wagoner's defense, he DID invest in Saturn, to the tune of $1.5 billion in 2001 and then some more $$ to bring the Aura, Outlook, the revamped VUE and Sky to showrooms. I think his mistake was moving Saturn upscale too fast.

If we're going to blame ANYONE for where Saturn is, the finger needs to be pointed at Jack Smith and Stephen Yokich.

Skip LaFauve has been rolling around in his grave ever since 1992 when Jack Smith took the reigns. Saturn lost one of its last true supporters within GM when Bob Stempel was shown the door.

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Old 04-06-2009, 10:06 PM   #11
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Default Re: Newsweek: Saturn was Supposed to Save GM

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And to think there was a time we thought Smith was a jerk, and Wagoneer a saviour....

Skip must be turnin over in his grave about now...
I'm not sure either of those guys could manage a bowling alley, let alone GM.

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Old 04-06-2009, 10:09 PM   #12
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Default Re: Newsweek: Saturn was Supposed to Save GM

Heard Saturn may become its own division and produce under its own industry!! Possibly bringing back the SL series as well.

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Old 04-07-2009, 09:00 PM   #13
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Default Re: Newsweek: Saturn was Supposed to Save GM

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Originally Posted by steadler View Post
"The Obama administration is contemplating splitting GM in two, dividing the "good" from the "bad" — a plan that, if adopted, would essentially treat Saturn as a toxic asset to be sold off like so much subprime"

Well these guys are politicians and influence by public opinion
just send them our gm petition to save Saturn.
Yell at them....email them ..... it can be very toxic at election time

Be a pain in the s
Its ironic---Saturn started out as the new direction for old GM,the way of the future, and now its a toxic asset-to be quarantined away from the "healthy(old) GM"!

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Old 04-07-2009, 09:41 PM   #14
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Default Re: Newsweek: Saturn was Supposed to Save GM

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Heard Saturn may become its own division and produce under its own industry!! Possibly bringing back the SL series as well.
Then someone told you a late April's Fool joke. I still hope that Saturn finds a way through this storm, but that option is just not on the table. Saturn now doesn't have the human resources, the factories or the funds to start a whole new s-series, or even to make anew the same old cars they made a decade ago.

Saturn was a great idea and did something most didn't believe could happen: they were profitable (even if just one year) making a competitive American car designed and built in the United States. GM's American compacts always had been sold by incentives and not because of being at the same level as the competition, I'm pretty sure they only made Cavaliers in such high number because they wanted to maintain their presence and to meet CAFE requirements (and I like the damn things, I'm a sucker for rugged basic vehicles). The closest beyond that were probably the Neon and the Focus, but the first one was plagued by reliability issues and an unacceptable 3-speed automatic for most of its run while the second was actually an adaptation of an European design with a Mazda-designed engine. Saturn compacts stood toe-to-toe with their competitors when they were first released, it's just a terrible waste that they didn't follow through on it by improving the model and giving it more funds.

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Old 04-08-2009, 02:02 PM   #15
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Default Re: Newsweek: Saturn was Supposed to Save GM

Very informative article. A good read, for sure.

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Old 04-08-2009, 05:50 PM   #16
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Default Re: Newsweek: Saturn was Supposed to Save GM

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Originally Posted by Sival View Post
Saturn compacts stood toe-to-toe with their competitors when they were first released, it's just a terrible waste that they didn't follow through on it by improving the model and giving it more funds.
You might want to talk to Rick Wagoner's predecessor, John Smith, about that. In the mid-Nineties, his intent was to hold back development funds for Saturn products until the division became profitable long-term. (The year that it did make money, it was a 1-2 percent profit, about the same margin you'd find from a supermarket chain.)

As early as 1996 there were calls for a larger sedan (which didn't arrive until the summer of 1999) and a people mover (which debuted for MY 2002) because there was nothing for Saturn shoppers to move up to once they had outgrown their S-Series. I even recall reading about Saturn wanting to design an inline-six which almost certainly would have powered both a mid-sized sedan/wagon and minivan/CUV much sooner.


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