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Old 08-03-2009, 10:22 AM   #1
BobbyP
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Default Saturn was Supposed To Save GM

Nice article, I didn't see it posted here...

URL: http://www.newsweek.com/id/192458

Snip...
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 Jan. 8, 1985, when Roger B. Smith convened a press conference in Detroit to make what he billed a "historic announcement."

Smith was a man given to grand gestures. The pink-cheeked, squeaky-voiced executive, once branded the "cherubic chairman" by BusinessWeek, who had taken the helm in 1981, had already ordered a sweeping reorganization of GM's unwieldy structure. He'd also made bold investments in robotics, space satellites and data processing-buying whole companies, like Ross Perot's Electronic Data Systems, and Hughes Aircraft Co., instead of merely contracting for their services.

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-using innovative technology by workers and managers engaged in unprecedented joint decision making. "Saturn is the key to GM's long-term competitiveness, survival and success," Smith said. Its mission: "to develop and produce an American-made small car that will be fully competitive with the best of the imports [and] affirm that American ingenuity, American technology and American productivity can once again be the model and the inspiration for the rest of the world."

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Old 08-03-2009, 10:53 AM   #2
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Default Re: Saturn was Supposed To Save GM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobbyP View Post
Nice article, I didn't see it posted here...

URL: http://www.newsweek.com/id/192458

Snip...
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 Jan. 8, 1985, when Roger B. Smith convened a press conference in Detroit to make what he billed a "historic announcement."

Smith was a man given to grand gestures. The pink-cheeked, squeaky-voiced executive, once branded the "cherubic chairman" by BusinessWeek, who had taken the helm in 1981, had already ordered a sweeping reorganization of GM's unwieldy structure. He'd also made bold investments in robotics, space satellites and data processing-buying whole companies, like Ross Perot's Electronic Data Systems, and Hughes Aircraft Co., instead of merely contracting for their services.

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-using innovative technology by workers and managers engaged in unprecedented joint decision making. "Saturn is the key to GM's long-term competitiveness, survival and success," Smith said. Its mission: "to develop and produce an American-made small car that will be fully competitive with the best of the imports [and] affirm that American ingenuity, American technology and American productivity can once again be the model and the inspiration for the rest of the world."
saturn was doing just fine util they went Euro

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Old 08-03-2009, 11:15 AM   #3
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Default Re: Saturn was Supposed To Save GM

Quote:
Originally Posted by crystal scan View Post
saturn was doing just fine util everyone (including GM) went import.
Fixed.

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Old 08-03-2009, 01:00 PM   #4
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Default Re: Saturn was Supposed To Save GM

If you want to get technical about it...

Saturns weren't "Imported" until the beginning of the 2008 model year (VUE and Astra)...

Everything else that Saturn has EVER MANUFACTURED...has been made in the U.S.A

1991-2002---> All S-Series: Spring Hill, Tennessee
2002-2007---> All VUE: Spring Hill, Tennessee
2003-2007---> All ION: Spring Hill, Tennessee
2006-2009---> All SKY: Wimington, Delaware
2005-2007---> All RELAY: Doraville, Georgia
2000-2007---> All L-Series: Wilmington, Delaware
2006-Current---> All AURA: Kansas City, Kansas
2007-Current---> All Outlook: Lansing, Michigan

Imported
2008-Current---> All VUE: Mexico
2008-----> All Astra: Belgium

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Old 08-03-2009, 01:22 PM   #5
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Default Re: Saturn was Supposed To Save GM

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
1991-2002---> All S-Series: Spring Hill, Tennessee
just wondering if this is true why are there HCE''s for 94/99? seems like its an oxymoron as it kinda makes it sound like they went somewhere else then returned as you can't come home if you never left

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Old 08-03-2009, 02:02 PM   #6
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Default Re: Saturn was Supposed To Save GM

Quote:
Originally Posted by crystal scan View Post
saturn was doing just fine util they went Euro
Of the 11 years (44 quarters) of the S-Series. Saturn turned a profit one quarter in 1994. Saturn was never doing fine.

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Old 08-03-2009, 02:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: Saturn was Supposed To Save GM

GM had 5 other brands, but Saturn was supposed to "save" them? Come on. It was an experiment without risking existing brands, nothing more.

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Old 08-03-2009, 02:07 PM   #8
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Default Re: Saturn was Supposed To Save GM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Low Saturn View Post
Of the 11 years (44 quarters) of the S-Series. Saturn turned a profit one quarter in 1994. Saturn was never doing fine.
True. Low-scale + low-price = no profits.

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Old 08-03-2009, 03:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: Saturn was Supposed To Save GM

2NDS: when I said imported Saturns I meant the designs came from Opel in Europe.

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Old 08-03-2009, 05:08 PM   #10
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Default Re: Saturn was Supposed To Save GM

Quote:
Originally Posted by adventureoflink View Post
2NDS: when I said imported Saturns I meant the designs came from Opel in Europe.
I know. I was pointing out that if anyone thought that Saturn was made elsewhere..it's been; for the most part; a U.S based design for the carline.

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Old 08-03-2009, 05:11 PM   #11
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Default Re: Saturn was Supposed To Save GM

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Originally Posted by saturnsl293 View Post
just wondering if this is true why are there HCE''s for 94/99? seems like its an oxymoron as it kinda makes it sound like they went somewhere else then returned as you can't come home if you never left
I'm taking it that your comment is tongue in cheek?

If not...then to explain:

The HCEs that were made in 94/99 were built specifically to commemorate the "Homecoming Events" that were held in Spring Hill, Tennessee; where all of the cars and their owners were invited BACK to the plant where the cars were built (A Homecoming).

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Old 08-03-2009, 05:17 PM   #12
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Default Re: Saturn was Supposed To Save GM

Quote:
Originally Posted by K-1 View Post
GM had 5 other brands, but Saturn was supposed to "save" them? Come on. It was an experiment without risking existing brands, nothing more.
At the time when Saturn came into existence back in 1985, the powers that be including Roger Smith (as the idea was his)...had set forth to make Saturn something that had not been done before. If you have ever read the press release from the day that Saturn was announced in 1985, the original plan was to have alot of the ideas that started in Saturn eventually move over and replace ideals and motives that plagued the other car lines...in order to work more efficiently, etc.

Unfortunately, when you have GM brass that didn't like the car line from day 1 (namely Wagoner, Lutz, Henderson) you are doomed to change anyone's mind into them liking anything that you do or make.

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Old 08-03-2009, 08:29 PM   #13
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Default Re: Saturn was Supposed To Save GM

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
Unfortunately, when you have GM brass that didn't like the car line from day 1 (namely Wagoner, Lutz, Henderson) you are doomed to change anyone's mind into them liking anything that you do or make.
How did they doom the car in the late 90s? None of them were really calling the shots back then.

Lack of investment into product development and advertisement didn't help it. Neither did using the same powertrains for 11 years with very few changes ever made to them in that timeframe.

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Old 08-04-2009, 02:47 AM   #14
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Default Re: Saturn was Supposed To Save GM

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
I'm taking it that your comment is tongue in cheek?

If not...then to explain:

The HCEs that were made in 94/99 were built specifically to commemorate the "Homecoming Events" that were held in Spring Hill, Tennessee; where all of the cars and their owners were invited BACK to the plant where the cars were built (A Homecoming).
I really didn't know the reason for the HCE's in terms of owners being invited to the back to the plant with their cars so thanks

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Old 08-04-2009, 06:52 AM   #15
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Default Re: Saturn was Supposed To Save GM

Quote:
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I really didn't know the reason for the HCE's in terms of owners being invited to the back to the plant with their cars so thanks
On a side note....

Yes. The Homecoming events were held in 1994 and 1999 in Spring Hill, Tennessee; where all Saturn owners were sent an invitation to celebrate where their car was built. Saturn sent out a "Homecoming Kit" to those that were going to attend, which included a T-Shirt, Hat, and promotional materials for how to get around Spring Hill. There was one of these kits on e-bay a few months back that I bought. Pretty cool collection of memorabilia.

Now, back to how Saturn was supposed to Save GM...

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Old 08-04-2009, 08:22 PM   #16
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Default Re: Saturn was Supposed To Save GM

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
Unfortunately, when you have GM brass that didn't like the car line from day 1 (namely Wagoner, Lutz, Henderson) you are doomed to change anyone's mind into them liking anything that you do or make.
None of these guys were in a position to call the shots in the early and mid 1990s.

I think Wagoner came to the US as COO in the late 1990s. Figuring 3-5 year pipeline, one could argue that he made an effort with Saturn in that he was one of the first who would have signed off on the Ls, signed off on the VUE, and ION.

When he became CEO, the Aura was put in the pipeline, along with the Outlook. I would guess the revised VUE was in there somewhere as well. Wagoner gave Saturn the product, but not the marketing.

I think if you are going to blame anyone for Saturn withering for so long, lay it at the feet of Jack Smith, much like you can lay GMs eventual bankruptcy at his feet I would argue.

The products GM was spitting out under Jack Smith watch were terribly underwhelming. He was one of the beancounters that believed you could simply turn around the company by taking cost of the equation. But when people aren't buying your cars, cutting costs only gets you so far. Thankfully Fritz Henderson sees the folly of that line of thinking, as did Rick Wagoner, who, unfortunately was Obama's sacrificial lamb for the bailout syndrome. Cars like the Aura, Malibu, GMT-900s, Lambdas, 2010 LaCrosse, etc don't happen overnight.

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Old 08-04-2009, 09:19 PM   #17
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Default Re: Saturn was Supposed To Save GM

Both Wagoner and Henderson had been with GM for a while...Wagoner was with GM since 1977 and worked his way up. Not sure what Henderson's background is; and Lutz has floated around all of the Big 3 for a while.

My comments were pointed to the fact that ALL of them have made MULTIPLE comments over the years about how much they disliked Saturn...so I am sure Henderson and Lutz were probably having a party after Saturn was announced that it was being sold off...

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Old 08-04-2009, 11:44 PM   #18
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Default Re: Saturn was Supposed To Save GM

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My comments were pointed to the fact that ALL of them have made MULTIPLE comments over the years about how much they disliked Saturn...
Have any proof to back this up? I've never seen either say anything about their dislike of the brand that was publically released. Who knows maybe they did behind closed doors. They may have said that the brand was not profitable, but never said they have a real dislike for the Saturn brand that. That'd be kind of a stupid thing to say abiut a car company that is under your corporation, don't you think?

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Old 08-05-2009, 09:01 PM   #19
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Default Re: Saturn was Supposed To Save GM

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saturn was doing just fine util they went Euro
IMHO, Saturn was doing just fine when they were a separate entity from GM. It seems like once they got into the typical platform/powerplant sharing crap, their quality started to plummet; which is typical of most of the other GM offerings.

Now Saturn is just another "whored out" platform offering more of the sub quality workmanship that GM has been so famous for producing. All of those things that made Saturn's "different" are now being done away with and our beloved Saturn name has been reduced to nothing more than regurgitated GM garbage with a Saturn emblem affixed.

I can only hope that by their using some of the European platforms, that they will once again stand out as a manufacturer and break away from the standard GM mold, although I won't hold my breath.

In all reality though, I'm done with Saturn's.

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Old 08-05-2009, 09:20 PM   #20
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Default Re: Saturn was Supposed To Save GM

I have to agree that Saturn was sold out long before being sold to Penske. I can't help but think corporate GM was too entrenched in old school ways to ever accept the non-traditional Saturn. The fact that Saturn almost never turned a profit was just more reason to reject it; and rather than accept what Saturn did well, they beat the whole company into the GM mold. They lost my whole hearted support then, not now. I still love my two SW-2s, which continue to serve me well and I'd be happy to never replace them. Reality being what it is and Saturn being sold out years ago; it doesn't really matter to me if they are an Renault/Saturn/Smart/Tesla combo. I will love what I have and buy what I think is the best bang for the buck (as I did 10-years ago) when it needs to be replaced. Employing Americans is a noble goal but there is no major brand of purely American car anymore.

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