Saturn's innovative manufacturing methods have not only helped it build world-class cars, but it also helped the company forge stronger labor ties with its workers. While all of Saturn's production techniques cannot be listed on one page, I've attempted to highlight a select few that stand out. These were methods used in Saturn's Spring Hill, TN manufacturing plant.
This morning's "Did You Know?" trivia focuses on Saturn and the environment. Saturn was concerned with how its cars affect the environment throughout the car's lifetime -- from design, to manufacture, to use by owners, to final disposal.
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.
Andrew Eder from the Delaware News Journal: At least three auto companies have toured the empty Boxwood Road assembly plant near Newport in a bid by the governor's economic development team to revive the state's moribund manufacturing sector. Delaware is competing against suitors in Michigan and other Midwestern states where the American auto industry has cut back production leaving dozens of abandoned auto plants. Access to foreign markets through the Port of Wilmington and a commitment to green technology could help Delaware revive a 62-year legacy of building cars that ended when General Motors closed Boxwood in July.
Ken Newton from St. Joseph News-Press: General Motors, feeling the pinch of foreign imports, dangled the idea of opening a new plant to build a "revolutionary" car. Such a factory would employ 6,000 people while also creating 15,000 jobs in supporting businesses. Workers there would not only have the benefit of a paycheck, they would stand, shoulder-to-shoulder, at the vanguard of a new era of American industrial might. Perhaps to seem egalitarian, or more likely to create buzz and cajole some incentives, GM executives offered the pending plant to interested states, hoping they would compete for the car company's affections.
David Thomas from Cars.com: Current owners' warranties are still fully backed by GM and will be serviced by other GM brand dealerships — Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC and Buick. As of September 1, Saturn's total inventory was 14,700 units, according to Automotive News data. Saturn representatives say there is an inventory of 12,000 vehicles on dealer lots and in transit.
G. Chambers Williams III from the Tennessean: Tom Smith opened the Video Shoppe in north Columbia a year after GM announced it would build a new Saturn plant in nearby Spring Hill. To his delight, the automaker put a giant training facility right next door, and rentals of his movies boomed. "I had a good run because of it," he said. But today, more than 20 years later, the South Central Tennessee Career Center has moved in next door, where unemployed people go to look for work. "Their business is great, but mine is not," Tom Smith said.
ABC News looked back on its evening news telecast from July 26, 1985 when GM announced construction of the Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee.
General Motors will add a third shift at its Fairfax, Kansas; Ft. Wayne, Indiana; and Lansing Delta Township, Michigan plants - restoring 2,400 jobs and enabling GM to increase its manufacturing plant utilization in the U.S.
You may recall a couple of months ago GM had an auction, liquidating lots of classic cars. They even pulled the last built Saturn Ion out of the museum it was in to put it up for bidding. Well, this is that car. It was also featured in at least two articles on this website (here and here). This Saturn Ion is in fantastic shape, as it was stored in a museum. It now has 2,500 miles on it.