David Booth from the National Post: So, Saturn is no more. One more bastion of the U.S. auto empire sinks into the quicksand that has been The Great Recession. Its would-be saviour, Roger Penske, has pulled out of the deal quite dramatically one day prior to taking over the "Saturn Homecoming" brand.
Michael O'Rourke from the San Antonio Express-News: First came the news that Pluto is no longer a planet. Now, Saturn will no longer be a car? These are strange times to be living in our universe. I never owned a Saturn. My brother had one. When he bought it my first question was, "Did they do it? Did they all come out and clap for you?"
Heather Stauffer from the Sentinel: John Sutliff's family has had a good run with Saturn, and he said Monday that even news General Motors is closing down the brand won't entirely change that. Sutliff said Saturn was "wildly successful" in central Pennsylvania, with the five area dealerships delivering more than 48,000 new Saturns since 1991.
Dan Gearino from the Columbus Dispatch via the Boston Herald: The toughest part for Saturn fans was the suddenness. For months, Penske Automotive Group worked on plans to buy the Saturn brand from General Motors. And then, in an instant last week, the deal evaporated. Saturn is now slated to wind down over the next year. "We were caught off guard as much as everyone," said Steve Whitman of Clintonville, vice president of the Central Ohio Saturn Car Club. Penske walked away from the deal after being unable to find a manufacturer to make Saturns after a contract with GM runs out in 2011. There's been no word on another buyer emerging.
Don Hammonds from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: When Rikki Kirchner of Santa Clarita, California, heard that Saturn was going out of business, she marched out to her Saturn Astra and ripped the General Motors emblems right off the car. "I know a guy who did that too. Heck, Saturn's an orphan right now, and it's a sad day," she said.
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.
From the Detroit News: Prospects for GM's Saturn division dimmed with the Penske Automotive Group's failed bid to keep the nameplate's dealer network alive. But the division's problems began long before GM's bankruptcy and downsizing. GM management and the United Auto Workers union both sabotaged the ideas behind Saturn. The division began as a model for regaining market share from Japanese automakers, improving dealer service and reforming labor practices. With collaboration and more flexible work rules, a no-pressure dealer sales strategy and a peppier product made in a Spring Hill, Tennessee plant, Saturn could have helped spread reforms to other GM brands.
Lindsay Chappell from Automotive News: Saturn dealers woke up last Thursday morning to the grim reality that their brand was dead, Roger Penske was not going to save them and General Motors Co. planned to compensate them with between $100,000 and $1 million per store to close by next October. Once known as the most satisfied retail network in the industry, Saturn dealers fumed.
Peter Brown from Automotive News: At 75, Saturn megadealer Don Hudler figures he's going to stick with the brand till the fat lady sings. "We're diehards. We'll probably go to the bitter end," Hudler, the former chairman of Saturn Corp., said last week after the shocking news that Roger Penske's deal to buy the Saturn brand had collapsed.