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Old 02-20-2009, 05:53 AM   #1
Charlie
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Default BW: Why Saturn Fell to Earth

A new feeditems entry has been added:

BW: Why Saturn Fell to Earth

Quote:
David Welch from Business Week: Nineteen years after emerging as a "Different Kind of Car Company," Saturn is headed for oblivion. A moment of silence, please, because Saturn once represented a new beginning for General Motors, which hoped the brand would catch the ascendant Japanese. The experiment fizzled and instead became an object lesson in what happens when a company fails to back up bold thinking with bold execution.

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Old 02-20-2009, 06:55 AM   #2
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Default Re: BW: Why Saturn Fell to Earth

All true.

This is what the fans on this board have been saying for years.

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Old 02-20-2009, 07:28 AM   #3
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Default Re: BW: Why Saturn Fell to Earth

Here's a link to the real/entire article from Businessweek:

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine...1025530123.htm

The real take away is this:

GM's research was showing that the Saturn brand was badly damaged. When the automaker showed buyers the Aura with the nameplate removed, the car scored a respectable 3.4 out of four. With the Saturn badge affixed to the hood, the same car scored a measly 2.0. Saturn, in a way, tells a larger story about GM. The automaker is making better cars, but most of its brands are so diminished that few buyers believe it.

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Old 02-21-2009, 12:43 PM   #4
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Default Re: BW: Why Saturn Fell to Earth

Thanks for the article. At best, it's a cautionary tale. I wonder if GM will learn anything from the Saturn experiment moving forward, but I'm doubtful.


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Old 02-21-2009, 11:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: BW: Why Saturn Fell to Earth

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The experiment fizzled and instead became an object lesson in what happens when a company fails to back up bold thinking with bold execution.
Bingo. The old Saturn product was killed by GM since the last ION rolled off the line in TN. This is only the interim. The new Saturn is in the works it looks like according to recent information. The one constant though that has always been and still is: Customer Care, and THAT is what has made Saturn what it is since it's roots and continues today, even though the line-up has changed.

GM, Wagoner and Lutz the putz never knew what to do with Saturn in the first place. Seems Skip LaFave was the only one with a clue.

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Old 02-22-2009, 12:42 PM   #6
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Default Re: BW: Why Saturn Fell to Earth

Perhaps Saturn of yesterday should have started from where they are at today... . Building an entirely new car company cost billions of $$$, which was covered up by the parent company's market share and high(er) margins. In lean times, it's no wonder that it failed.

If Saturn had started with completely out-sourced (non-GM) products, would it be alive today? Makes one wonder what a Kia/Hyundai-Saturn line-up could have produced. With Saturn's designs and Korean cost efficiencies/gov't support could they have beaten the competition?

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Old 02-22-2009, 02:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: BW: Why Saturn Fell to Earth

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Perhaps Saturn of yesterday should have started from where they are at today... . Building an entirely new car company cost billions of $$$, which was covered up by the parent company's market share and high(er) margins. In lean times, it's no wonder that it failed.

If Saturn had started with completely out-sourced (non-GM) products, would it be alive today? Makes one wonder what a Kia/Hyundai-Saturn line-up could have produced. With Saturn's designs and Korean cost efficiencies/gov't support could they have beaten the competition?
GM tried that about the same time they started Saturn. The GEO lineup, sold in Chevy dealerships (like Scion is sold in Toyota dealerships). The GEO Metro (Suzuki Swift), Prizm (Toyota Corolla), Storm (Isuzu Impulse), and Tracker (Suzuki Sidekick). Some of these had been sold under the Chevy badge before too, though with different model names. After 1997, GEO was eliminated and the Metro, Prizm, and Tracker (the Storm had been discontinued) were sold as Chevrolets.

Chrysler used to do it as well, with Mitsubishis. The Dodge/Plymouth Colt, and Eagle Summit were Mitsubishi Mirages, and the Mitsubishi Eclipse was also the Eagle Talon and Plymouth Laser, to name a few. Actually, the Eagle lineup came out a few years before Saturn, and about the same time as GEO. It had two Renault-based sedans (the Medallion and Premier), and the aforementioned Mitsubishis. The only real Chrysler-designed vehicle they had was the LH-based Vision sedan.

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Old 02-22-2009, 07:15 PM   #8
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Default Re: BW: Why Saturn Fell to Earth

Saturn used to be "a different kind of car from a different kind of company".

I remember my first encounter. A polymer car, easy to maintain, and economical. Styling took a second to engineering features such as a timing chain and a stainless steel exhaust system.

Dealers sold at one price so you always got the best deal.

Salespeople went to Spring Hill and learned the technical details.

I loved my S series Saturns,

Enter re-badged German garbage like my 2000 LS. Exit one five time buyer to Toyota.

Saturn was a great experiment in union-management cooperation.

What a lot of promise until GM ruined it.

Nothing more to Saturn today than a re-badger.

No reason for it to exist.

Now, if the UAW could buy it and go back to 1991.....

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Old 02-22-2009, 07:35 PM   #9
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Default Re: BW: Why Saturn Fell to Earth

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Originally Posted by Ritz View Post
The automaker is making better cars, but most of its brands are so diminished that few buyers believe it.[/INDENT][/I]

Truest thing I've read anywhere in a long time. As soon as many people think "GM" next thing they think is "junk"...

and if you owned a GM car built anytime between 1975 and somewhere in the mid to late 90s I suppose, you'd be perfectly correct for thinking it. Were they all junk? No, but it was a vast majority of models...

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Old 02-27-2009, 08:54 AM   #10
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Default Re: BW: Why Saturn Fell to Earth

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Originally Posted by GR898SL2 View Post
Thanks for the article. At best, it's a cautionary tale. I wonder if GM will learn anything from the Saturn experiment moving forward, but I'm doubtful.

I agree, good article and states what most of us long term Saturn owners already know. Unfortunately no, GM will not learn and that's one of their biggest problems. If anyone is interested in learning some of the early inside history of Saturn and GM's relationship, I recommend Jack O'Toole's book, Forming The Future. Great and interesting read. I just read it over vacation and really made me realize after Roger Smith retired and the very few inside GM that were pushing the Saturn concept along with those in the UAW, it was only a matter of time that Saturn as a brand would reach this point. It confirmed much of what I had heard and thought when I worked at a retailer.

Having had a 2003 L300 and now a 2008 Astra, I really have to disagree with the comments about the "re-badge" German garbage. You're experience might have been different than mine, but after 53K on my L300, the only issue I had with it was the thermostat issue, which GM knew about when the 3.0 was used in Saab and the CTS. I received lots of the typical "This is a Saturn?" when people saw it and rode in it. I've had my Astra a month now and aside from the lack of XM or Aux input for the stereo, that car blows the quality of the Ion away. Very tight, quality build vehicle and not with all the plastic dash jigsaw puzzle and squeaks/rattles. And I'm consistently seeing 30 mpg already with only a 1,000 miles on it.

I loved my Ion Red Line, but given a choice of Ion or Astra, hands down, I'll take the Astra.

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Old 02-28-2009, 02:14 PM   #11
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Default Re: BW: Why Saturn Fell to Earth

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Originally Posted by ChgoBlues View Post
I agree, good article and states what most of us long term Saturn owners already know. Unfortunately no, GM will not learn and that's one of their biggest problems. If anyone is interested in learning some of the early inside history of Saturn and GM's relationship, I recommend Jack O'Toole's book, Forming The Future. Great and interesting read. I just read it over vacation and really made me realize after Roger Smith retired and the very few inside GM that were pushing the Saturn concept along with those in the UAW, it was only a matter of time that Saturn as a brand would reach this point. It confirmed much of what I had heard and thought when I worked at a retailer.

Having had a 2003 L300 and now a 2008 Astra, I really have to disagree with the comments about the "re-badge" German garbage. You're experience might have been different than mine, but after 53K on my L300, the only issue I had with it was the thermostat issue, which GM knew about when the 3.0 was used in Saab and the CTS. I received lots of the typical "This is a Saturn?" when people saw it and rode in it. I've had my Astra a month now and aside from the lack of XM or Aux input for the stereo, that car blows the quality of the Ion away. Very tight, quality build vehicle and not with all the plastic dash jigsaw puzzle and squeaks/rattles. And I'm consistently seeing 30 mpg already with only a 1,000 miles on it.

I loved my Ion Red Line, but given a choice of Ion or Astra, hands down, I'll take the Astra.
Agreed.

I never owned an L-Series, so I'm taking the author at his word.

I have test driven the Astra (XR 5-door) which is superior to the ION and S-Series in handling. A turbocharged OPC version sent here as the Red Line Astra would have intrigued me most, but probably would have required an asking price similar to the Subaru WRX.


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Old 02-28-2009, 07:19 PM   #12
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Default Re: BW: Why Saturn Fell to Earth

I trusted Saturn after 4 S cars and bought a new 2000 LS.

Well styled but riddled with uncorrectible design errors.

Took GM 3 model years to get the glitches out of the L series. By that time, it was doomed.

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Old 03-01-2009, 07:48 PM   #13
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Default GM lost me

I will never ever, under any circumstances, spend my hard earned money on anything made by General Motors, again.

They are not the only company making cars in America.

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Old 03-03-2009, 01:29 PM   #14
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Default Re: BW: Why Saturn Fell to Earth

Unfortunately, the quality of service at the Saturn dealerships reflects the decision of GM dropping the Saturn line. Ever since December 2005 when my wife told the Saturn Dealership to change her oil & make sure it was Mobil 1 Synthetic & she paid FULL Synthetic Oil Price - soon after, her 2001 L200 (only 25k miles) began blowing blue smoke. I soon changed her oil myself & I took a sample of the oil & sent it out to be analyzed & I found it was low-quality Petroleum-Based Motor Oil. She was tricked into believing her oil was changed to Synthetic & paid full price for it - we never ever went back to the local Saturn dealership in NH for ANY repairs. Sorry Saturn. You did it to yourself.
I'll take my Chevy Silverado Diesel anytime over a foreign make.

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Old 03-03-2009, 03:38 PM   #15
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Default Re: BW: Why Saturn Fell to Earth

Saturn should have been shutdown after the S-series had stop being produced. GM has basically 10year to come up with something new, but they decided to go into another direction. I see a car that was horrible when it first came out in the Hyundai Elantra, only to still be around as one of there bread and butter sellers. The same could be said for the Sonata. These cars left a spring board for the high quality Genesis Sedan and coupe.

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