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Old 12-03-2009, 01:25 AM   #1
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Default Saturn Was Also a Different Kind of Manufacturer

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Saturn Was Also a Different Kind of Manufacturer

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In the early days, Saturn manufactured its own cars at its own plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee. In addition to innovating on the sales, service, and engineering sides of its business, Saturn's founding fathers spent a significant amount of time developing new manufacturing techniques that were based on some of the "best in class" processes used by companies from around the world.

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Old 12-04-2009, 09:17 AM   #2
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Default Re: Saturn Was Also a Different Kind of Manufacturer

A cooperative relationship between workers and management - that's crazy talk! Almost removes the need for a union. Blasphemy!

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Old 12-05-2009, 10:27 AM   #3
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Default Re: Saturn Was Also a Different Kind of Manufacturer

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A cooperative relationship between workers and management - that's crazy talk! Almost removes the need for a union. Blasphemy!
The Saturn Plant was originally located in Tennessee as that is a "right to work" state. As such, it allows workers the right to not join a union even if one exists, therefore, why join the union & pay dues if you get the same pay & benefits if you don't?

As for a cooperative relationship, like socialism, that's nice in theory ... it works for a little while until problems arrive that require mutual sacrifice, then human nature kicks in ... every person for themselves. Once the honeymoon is over, things look pretty ugly when the bills come due.

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Old 04-22-2010, 05:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: Saturn Was Also a Different Kind of Manufacturer

I strongly suggest that you read the book "Crash Course" by Paul Ingrassia. He actually spends a fair amount of time on the the decline of Saturn, which was largely the work of Stephen Yokich, a UAW Vice President who couldn't tolerate the idea of a company based upon a positive worker-management relationship.

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Old 04-24-2010, 11:53 AM   #5
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Default Re: Saturn Was Also a Different Kind of Manufacturer

Maybe GM or the UAW will learn something

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Old 04-24-2010, 02:41 PM   #6
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Default Re: Saturn Was Also a Different Kind of Manufacturer

unfortunately i dont thing they learned from the whole saturn experience. i was there at the beginning and it was a great set up.

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Old 04-24-2010, 05:51 PM   #7
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Default Re: Saturn Was Also a Different Kind of Manufacturer

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unfortunately i dont thing they learned from the whole saturn experience. i was there at the beginning and it was a great set up.
Ditto... GM is still a large out of control company.

In the 80's Roger Smith could see the problem and created Saturn. He retired in 1990 and as soon as the "old school" GM had enough control they did every thing they could to liquidate Saturn.

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Old 04-25-2010, 06:42 AM   #8
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Default Re: Saturn Was Also a Different Kind of Manufacturer

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Originally Posted by dhdickson View Post
I strongly suggest that you read the book "Crash Course" by Paul Ingrassia. He actually spends a fair amount of time on the the decline of Saturn, which was largely the work of Stephen Yokich, a UAW Vice President who couldn't tolerate the idea of a company based upon a positive worker-management relationship.
I believe Steve was the President of the UAW, not a VP. When he died a few years ago, I remember Gettelfinger saying something along the lines of he learned volumes from Yokich at the bargaining table...those same skills that almost helped to bankrupt the entire American auto industry.

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Old 04-25-2010, 07:30 AM   #9
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Default Re: Saturn Was Also a Different Kind of Manufacturer

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Originally Posted by VUEmaniac View Post
I believe Steve was the President of the UAW, not a VP. When he died a few years ago, I remember Gettelfinger saying something along the lines of he learned volumes from Yokich at the bargaining table...those same skills that almost helped to bankrupt the entire American auto industry.
Failed joint ventures did more to hurt the American auto companies then the UAW and it was GM that wanted out of Saturn's labor agreement. Yokich didn't have the power to tell GM what to do. The Union was never as strong as many people think. GM used that misconception to lay blame when they did something stupid.
The UAW workers could have worked for free and it would not have made much difference. The cost of UAW labor was less then 9% including full benefits and that was before the lower pay scale.

GM lost BILLIONS to Fiat when they attempted to outsource production of small cars in the USA. That happened at the same time they were cutting investment in Saturn future products.

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Old 04-25-2010, 11:37 AM   #10
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Default Re: Saturn Was Also a Different Kind of Manufacturer

Saturn was, now is no more so you can argue all you want about it. Unless all involved go about doing things different you can argue who killed GM in a few years.

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Old 04-25-2010, 12:19 PM   #11
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Default Re: Saturn Was Also a Different Kind of Manufacturer

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Saturn was, now is no more so you can argue all you want about it. Unless all involved go about doing things different you can argue who killed GM in a few years.
Absolutely correct and after working for the Saturn Corporation form 1986 to 2004 and doing hundreds of sourcing reports and manufacturing business cases, I have no intention of debating these issues with anyone not involved with the actual data. That's why my post count is so low.

Not trying to come off as a know it all idiot but hey, It was my job to know the data and be part of the decision to outsource or not.

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Old 04-27-2010, 12:56 AM   #12
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Default Re: Saturn Was Also a Different Kind of Manufacturer

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GM lost BILLIONS to Fiat when they attempted to outsource production of small cars in the USA. That happened at the same time they were cutting investment in Saturn future products.
Yes, most sophmoric pundits forget the Fiat debacle. Most probably have never seen a Fiat nor know what country it stems from. How many billions did GM dispose of in this Fiat end game?

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Old 05-17-2010, 01:47 PM   #13
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Default Re: Saturn Was Also a Different Kind of Manufacturer

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Absolutely correct and after working for the Saturn Corporation form 1986 to 2004 and doing hundreds of sourcing reports and manufacturing business cases, I have no intention of debating these issues with anyone not involved with the actual data. That's why my post count is so low.

Not trying to come off as a know it all idiot but hey, It was my job to know the data and be part of the decision to outsource or not.
I for one am sorry to see Saturn go. I never worked for Saturn and have no idea concerning the whats, whys and wherefores, however I was a loyal customer for about 10 years and can honestly say it was a pleasure buying and having my cars serviced at Saturn. There was zero pressure from the slaes staff when car shopping. Any car I took there was fixed right the first time and warrantly work was performed whether I asked for it or not. I cannot say that about any other dealership here where I live.

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Old 05-17-2010, 10:03 PM   #14
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Default Re: Saturn Was Also a Different Kind of Manufacturer

At least it appears that some(dealers) have learned something from the Saturn experience. The dealer group I bought my Saturns from has apparently taken the sales philosophy and the service model from the Saturn part and incorporated it in their Cadillac franchise---except for the "fair, no haggle price" part anyway. Actually, my Saturn salesperson is now with Cadillac, much to my relief--so when and if I replace my CTS I know I will get a decent deal.

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Old 05-18-2010, 03:45 PM   #15
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Default Re: Saturn Was Also a Different Kind of Manufacturer

^ Funny you should mention that, Mike. Loved working at a Caddy dealer early in my career, big focus on customer service there (back in the early 90's, it was alot of WWII and Korea vets around the lounge, we'd get to chatting about military matters, often times they'd see my calendar or small posters of old fighter planes or something like that, and they were happy to tell their stories to someone familiar with the history of the subject). If my partnership with my current dealer group should end with the closing of our Saturn store, would love to get back to that brand. They've been good to me, though, and don't really want to go hat in hand and try to get in somewhere.

That said, from what I have seen as management in Saturn facilities since 1997, it was the watering down of the original purpose and mission of Saturn that led to us being clipped so easily. Seems when we really got a solid following, and were on the the second or third car in some families, GM decided they needed to have more product here. Just thinking if we had kept to the S series (a different and actually better design than most every other small car, ask those of us who have seen many crashed ones at body shops), freshened up the interiors, exteriors, and did the necessary mandated updates along the way, we'd be in a great position right now with a proven, affordable-to-own American-made product. Many parts used since 1991, so availability and dealer stock were good, among many other niceties for the owner in the interface with the dealer. High mileage, weather resistant exterior to keep it looking great, all sorts of good reasons to keep our identity, and also keep costs down by utilizing designs for maximum length of service. But history cannot be rewritten, and here we are. Perhaps the bean counters or fancy marketing types will chime in with a bunch of reasons why I'm crazy, but that's how this guy sees it.

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