Saturn Closing

Editorial: Saturn Fell Prey to GM, UAW Bungling

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.

Wind-Down Terms Anger Saturn Retailers

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.

Don Hudler: "I Didn’t Expect to Finish this Way"

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.

Retailers, Owners Shocked Over End of Saturn

Steve Manning from the Associated Press via MSNBC: Charlie Eickmeyer says he was a fan of Saturn vehicles years before he was able to drive. Today he's in shock. "It seemed like the deal was going through," said Eickmeyer, 34, who started following Saturn when he was 10 years old and now runs a Web site for enthusiasts of the brand.

Report: GM Stopped Production of all Saturns Last Thursday

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.

John McElroy: Why Saturn Failed

John McElroy from Autoline Detroit via AutoBlog: In the early 1980s General Motors launched a top-secret program to figure out how it could build a small car to successfully compete against the Japanese automakers. It was called the S-car program and the results of this study shocked top management at GM. It conclusively proved General Motors could not profitably build a small car in the United States that was priced against the Japanese — at least not under the current GM system. And that launched another study to figure out what it would take become competitive. GM concluded that it needed a clean-sheet approach to designing, engineering, manufacturing and retailing small cars in the American market. In other words, it needed a whole new car company.

Farewell to Saturn’s Utopian Dream

Pam Platt from the Courier Journal: It wasn't just the new-car smell that made me want to swoon when I went to the Saturn dealership. It was exactly as my friend said: Nice people, no games, really nice cars, good prices. The Saturn salesman went a mile better than smacking the car seat and ordering me to sit. He let me drive the wagon for a couple of days so I could see how I liked it.

Saturn’s Sad Story Nears an End

David Welch from Business Week: The long, sad saga of Saturn is finally over. The once-hot General Motors division that began with a bang 19 years ago is now headed into oblivion after a deal to sell it to retailer Penske Automotive Group fell apart on September 30.

Spring Hill, Columbia Worry About Life after GM

Spring Hill Barn

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.

Saturn Couldn’t Escape GM’s Dysfunctional Orbit

Paul Ingrassia from the Wall Street Journal: General Motors and the United Auto Workers union have waged war against each other—sometimes hot, sometimes cold—for most of the past 80 years. One of the few things on which they collaborated, sadly, was undermining Saturn, which began as the boldest effort to reform the dysfunctional dynamics of their relationship.

Random Article from the SaturnFans.com Archives

New Saturn Advertising Campaign to Highlight Aura, Outlook, and Vue Models

From MotorTrend.com: GM's Saturn car division is launching an all-new advertising campaign that it hopes will help give the brand a much-needed boost, reports Automotive News. The campaign, which set to debut in late April, will highlight the Aura, Outlook and Vue models and has been designed to help establish a more focused marketing vision for the brand.