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.
Over the years, one of Saturn's most impressive features was their innovative plastic polymer body panels that it used to cloth it's cars in. The panels resisted damage from small dents, dings, and minor bumps — they proved to be very popular among Saturn owners. The panels simply absorbed the impact, and bounced back into their original form. Back in the day, if you went to your local Saturn retailer, the sales folks would eagerly show you how well the panels worked by either pounding on the side of a car with their fists, or by inviting you to jump up and down on a sample door panel laying on the floor. No matter how hard you tried, the panels always went back to their original shape.
From Tom Mason: Now that GM is shutting down their Saturn division, let me tell you how comic books helped me get a really nice, reliable car. Years ago, my old car went on life support and, reluctantly, since I could no longer count on my friends to keep picking me up by the side of the freeway, I had to get another one. I hate buying a car more than I hate trying to get a hotel room for Comic-Con International in March. So I needed a plan.
It is with tempered excitement that I officially announce the start of SaturnFest 2009. The format for this year's event will be diferent from in the past. The familiar 5-day schedule has been expanded to 31 days, and the over-the-top celebration will be more reflective and subdued. Personally, I am still finding it hard to prepare a "celebration" so close to the brand's untimely death. Couple that with reports published almost on a daily basis about more retail facilities closing — leaving thousands of folks out of work during the holidays — really saddens me.
From AutoWeek: "All of our efforts will be to sell down our remaining 2009 inventory," Susan Docherty, GM's vice president of U.S. sales, said today at a press event. "We'll have a little bit of carryover of that into the first quarter of 2010, but the objective is to keep our inventory somewhere between 425,000 to 450,000 units." Docherty said she is confident that GM will clear out the 2009-model-year inventory by January. Meanwhile, the company likely will shutter its Pontiac and Saturn brands by the end of the first quarter, Docherty said.
Barbara Wieland from the Lansing State Journal: Sherrill Freeborough is finding there is life after Saturn. Freeborough was one of 340 Saturn dealers left hanging when GM's deal to sell the division to Penske Automotive Group collapsed September 30. GM quickly halted Saturn production - including dropping the Outlook crossover made at its Lansing Delta Township assembly plant - and began shutting down the brand. "It was sickening, disheartening," said the normally upbeat, optimistic Freeborough. "It took some time for the reality of it to sink in."
Unprecedented discounts on the last remaining Saturns present an enticing case to anyone in the market for a new car, especially if you're a Saturn owner. Al Clapsaddle, senior sales consultant at Saturn/West in Ohio, sent me an intriguing e-mail the other day detailing the laundry list of incentives available until November 30 — some of which are over and above those that were advertised nationally at the beginning of the month.
Here is a step-by-step how-to guide that I put together after changing the oil in my 2009 Saturn Outlook with GM's 3.6L Direct Injection (DI) V6. The procedure should also work for anyone with who owns a GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave, and Chevrolet Traverse. This process worked for me, but I cannot accept any responsibility for the procedure or provide any guarantees.
With General Motors' unfortunate decision to shutdown Saturn, the need for venues that enable owners and fans to communicate is greater than ever. In an effort to foster that communication across as many mediums as possible, SaturnFans.com can be followed via Twitter, RSS, ImSaturn, and now there's a fan page on Facebook. It's another place for Saturn owners — past and present — to socialize, share experiences, and offer support to each other in the wake of Saturn's untimely closing.