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Old 08-28-2002, 04:22 AM   #1
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Sad A Sad Day For Us All.

I work for Saturn in Spring Hill and tonight we built the last S- Series car that will ever be produced. As bitter-sweet as it was, the occassion was marred by the destruction of one of our oldest traditions as auto workers.
It has been customary that when your plant builds a milestone car (milionth, first, last, etc.) the line techs who build it will sign their name and write a brief message on part of the spaceframe that will be covered up with body cladding. We did this on our first car, our millionth car and the last coupe we built earlier this month.
Tonight was a tragity though. As the last REAL SATURN rolled through our respective areas we all signed it and put our thoughts on the vehicle. When the vehicle got past our areas though, management showed us how much they really care about the history of our company and the workers who have dedicated the past 13 years to building the finest automobiles in this country by taking a rag and a bucket of acetone and wiping off everything on the vehicle before it had it's body panels installed.
They knew full well that these messages would never be seen by anyone. We only do this as a way for us all to show that we still care about the car in spite of the way our working conditions have gone to hell over the past few years.
There was a time when this kind of expression was encouraged but obviously not anymore. I for one would be more than happy to purchase a car that had been signed by everyone who had a hand in building it even if the signatures were visible.
This car represents the end of an era. We are no longer the quaint little auto manufacturer in Spring Hill anymore. We are GM and we will be building a purely GM car after this point(ION). The Saturn was all we had left to remind us of a better time and I for one am deeply saddened to see it go...Especially the way it did this evening.
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Old 08-28-2002, 04:50 AM   #2
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thats really sad to hear

i would be honored if my L's frame was signed by the people who made it.
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Old 08-28-2002, 05:05 AM   #3
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Heartbreaking, I tell ya. I special ordered my Saturn, and have always wondered about the people that built it. Now I've heard from one person who probably helped build my very first new car (and probably the last). I was too young for DeLorean, but if Saturn goes by the wayside, I will always cherish the fact I was in when it was good. Thanks, Bouncewitme, you did a great job on my car (provided you didn't have the day off, LOL). Good luck to you in the future. And shame on the mgmt, you'll always be a better person than them.
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Old 08-28-2002, 06:27 AM   #4
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Wayyyy back when I used to do autobody going through college, we found a couple of notes, etc. It was nice to find that personal touch. I'm sorry that they cleaned off the writing. That car would have been worth alot some day if the owner ever knew.
The one time I was not fond of finding anything personally added to the car was when we found a bolt tied to a string with a note that said "Gotcha". Sigh... must have been a Friday car. We found the note while searching for a strange rattle. I don't think the customer was ever told what it was.
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Old 08-28-2002, 07:16 AM   #5
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This is a ver sad story. I too am very sad to see the S series goe. I have a first generation SC2. A very un-gm car indeed, I have to date found only one GM logo on the whole thing - the brake flued container cap.

Long live the S-Series
I love my Saab.
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Old 08-28-2002, 07:32 AM   #6
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I don't understand the logic of wiping off those names. Remaining new S-cars in of themselves will probably have to be sold at a discount in some places but the last S made would be worth a premium to a collector or a dedicated Saturn fan. Anything to make that car personnal and special would likely be appreciated by its owner; at least if its owner was me.
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Old 08-28-2002, 08:08 AM   #7
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That was so touching. I knew this would be a bad day when I awoke, and here I am tearing at work.

I'm not sure if my next car will be a Saturn, but if it is, I want everyone who built it to please sign my rear 1/4 exterior panel.
Stupid GM.
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Old 08-28-2002, 08:09 AM   #8
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What can I say, GM ****s, and Saturn really is dead.
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Old 08-28-2002, 08:17 AM   #9
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This is very upsetting. I am a loyal owner who bought the first of my three Saturns in 1992. I currently own an L and a SC1 and was going to buy a VUE for my son. I did many car shows for my local retailer back in 1992 and 1993 as an owner proud of what Saturn represented and especially the way you folks in TN had such pride in what you did. I attended the homecoming.
If Saturn is just becoming another GM vehicle then I may have to stop promoting them as something unique and different.
It's really ashame because when it comes to vehicles only Harley Daividson has the same type of owners that Saturn has.
I hate to say it but if GM takes the things that make Saturn Unique I will have to switch to a foreign brand in the future.

And you can print this and take it to Management.
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Old 08-28-2002, 08:22 AM   #10
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2004 ION-2 Sedan
1996 SL1

After being sad and angry at the dismissal of the S-Series, I made the decision to never sell mine. Hell, it's practically an antique at this point!!
2005 Mazda6 Hatch
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Old 08-28-2002, 08:55 AM   #11
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Sad Me Too

What a bummer.... Who is the flamepainter?? I'm a guy that started at Saturn Corp in Michigan back in 1989. I worked for a Saturn Corp that hired all of us for our committment to the customer and our new and different ideas. We were all a bunch of mavericks back then. I remember during the launch for the very first cars out of Spring Hill that the first 868 (+/- 1 or 2) cars that were built would not be sent to Retailers because they were not "ready". I was going back and forth from Spring Hill to Michigan - a week down and a week back, week down and a week back for 3 months during that time. I have never seen - before or since - such committment to fixing problems and getting a car right than I did then. Thank You to all in Spring Hill!!!
I will never forget the end of shift when the first car to be shipped was on the Skillet in General Assembly down near the end. As I recall it was a silver SL2 with a blue interior. I recall thinking "Put that red SL2 Roger Smith drove as the 'first Saturn' in a museum somewhere - Big Deal - This SL2 is the real first Saturn" I will never forget that moment. It was a 100 year Company - then a brand, now?? Thank God for our Retailers They still have the passion, just check J.D. Power
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Old 08-28-2002, 09:00 AM   #12
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Sad A Sad Day For Us All.

That is too bad something as great as the Saturn being turned into just another GM high priced run of mill poor quality automobile.
I am a loyal Saturn owner as I have owned up to 3 at one time. I have a 93 SC2 that I have now put 160,000 miles on it. It still is in excellent condition and I plan to keep it and put those antique plates on it someday with pride. I recently purchased a 2003 Vue. I Love my Saturns ! !

I always looked at my 93 Saturn SC2 as something unique (good quality and not something that looked like any other car). I was proud to show it off and tell people what a good quality car I had because of the people who designed it and especially the excellent apparent care taken by the people who assembled it.

I was very Sad to hear about the S series going away. If my 93 ever was destroyed beyond repair I would have gone out and bought a new SC2 coupe to replace it immediately. Not any more. Now I will need to search out another company.
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Old 08-28-2002, 09:31 AM   #13
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I am the proud owner of a '95 SL1 with 87,000 on it, and regard it as the best car I've ever driven. I am always proud of the fact that it has the styling of the original Saturn , and is reliable and sturdy. Your post is disturbing, but this seems to be happening everywhere in America. I work for a large Foundation here in Pittsburgh, and over the last 10 years working conditions have declined, and it is no longer a good place to work. Financial growth and expansion are all that matter, while people with hundreds of years of collective experience are "let go", while it seems 2 supervisors are hired to take their place. What a joke.
In the 1995 movie "Casino" Robert DiNero's character narrates the final minutes tying up all the loose ends. One of the lines is"In the always about the dollars...always the dollars". I guess thats what its all about after all even with GM.
I dont know if I will buy another Saturn after this, because I dont want a mediocre GM car designed by corporate comittee (remember the Vega..or the Cimmaron???
It is the native american lore that anything built by anyone contains a little part of their "spirit". Im proud to have a good example of that in my 95 SL1.
Thank your co-workers for their fine efforts on MY behalf, and Keep us posted on how the ION is really stacking up by the people who build it. I hope for all our sakes, these destructive trends will be reversed.
Cmon folks..lets weigh in on this issue............................................
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Old 08-28-2002, 09:38 AM   #14
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You'd figure that they would put it in a showcase somewhere or in the lobby of the plant for posterity sake. Kind of s u c ks that they took the names and stuff off.

Do y'all use Sharpie permanent markers or what??
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Old 08-28-2002, 09:57 AM   #15
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Default End of an era...

What a disheartening story. This only help to solidify what I've been suspecting for the last few years, that Saturn has been ****ed in by the gravitation pull of mothership GM.

I owned one of the first year Saturns and later traded it in on a 94 Homecoming Car. I was one of the true Saturn fans that spend two weekends a month just hanging out at my local retailer, taking perspective owners out on test drives and familiarizing them with the car.

The Saturn Homecoming event in 1994 at the Spring Hill plant was truly an experience I won't forget. Being a car nut/motorhead the biggest attraction for me was the factory tour. I can remember being taken aback when people working on the lines would step down to ask us our names, what car we bought and to thanks us. I couldn't help but think "Holy crap! Is this really an American car factory? Where's all the lazy workers on break? Where's the feeling of big brother and the Union looming overhead? No...this truly is different!"

When I bought by 94 I was still thrilled with the car and the company, but several years later I stated to become a little disappointed when the redesign of the SL series came out. I didn't think it was nearly as unique and remarkable as the first generation. Then the loooonnnnnggg peroid before the L series. This was so long overdue that Saturns numbers were starting to drop. And just when you thought the SUV craze was over, Saturn decided to join the party.

I bought my Saturns because they were the perfect alternative to buying Japanese. And I was happy all the years that I've owned them. I still have the Homecoming Car and it's just about to turn 200,000 miles with no major failures at anytime. One year ago I bought an Audi A4 and have been so impressed with the quailty and craftsmanship that I think I'll be staying with them for quite some time. I had looked at what was on the horizon for Saturn and cringed.

Goodbye ol' friend. You will be missed.
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Old 08-28-2002, 10:41 AM   #16
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Disheartening. That is definately the word to describe this. The only excuse I can see management giving is that this last car will be put on display somewhere. Well I for one would think that the signatures and such would add to the uniqueness of that car. By erasing the writting, they have basically erased a part of history. Think of archeologists and scientists -- would they rather find a clay pot or a clay pot with writting on it? Even if this car was going to the Smithsonian in D.C. I think those words should have been there for the future.

I've always favored General Motors. For our economy's good I wanted to buy from the big three. I know other companies can build better cars, but I always hoped GM would learn and follow suit. I thought the NUMI plant was a step in the right direction. I though Saturn was GM really embracing change. But now I wonder. There appears to be two sides to GM right now, and neither one is winning. Right now the old "cheaper is better" side seems to be pushing the new "inovation is the way" side down. Like many companies before them (Commodore Business Machines, also close to my heart) GM has good ideas, tons of potential, but has no clue how to leverage and market those advantages.

Hopefully GM will wake up. Hopefully Saturn will retain some aspects of the early Saturn Corporation. Hopefully GM can remove the doubt I have in my favorite company.
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Old 08-28-2002, 10:52 AM   #17
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Doing something like that is disheartening to the employees and the people that have owned Saturns over the years.

I hope that either that really wasn't the last S series car, or that they have some sort of cerimonial signing of the outside of the car planned for later.

Heck, even apple put molded in signatures in to the original mac cases.

Last one off the line should be on display at Spring Hill or auctioned off on ebay for charity.
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Old 08-28-2002, 11:07 AM   #18
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Thanks for sharing your feelings with us. I am a man and am not ashamed to admit I had tears reading your story.

My wife and I were at the 1999 Homecoming. Drove our 1996 SL2 all the way from Toronto to meet you nice folks at Spring Hill. Like I said in other threads you guys were so friendly and so non-unionlike. My SL2 was probably happy to see its mama too.

I had mixed feelings when I bought my 2000 LS1 because it was not built in Spring Hill but in a GM outfit in Delaware. So when I got my VUE last July, I was so happy to see that little logo on the window saying that my VUE was built in Spring Hill.

If there'll ever be another homecoming, I'll definitely will find out which team built my VUE, and have them sign mine. (how do I find out which team built my VUE?)

Whoever that management was who had the audacity to erase your signatures is just a jerk. And you thought September 11 would have made you Americans more tight! That management stinking attitude is what cause so many foreigners to hate America. But if they know about you nice factory workers, many will love you.

I've been jesting that my VUE is the last Saturn I'll ever drive. Now I am sure I won't buy another GM Saturn!! I only want a real Saturn Saturn!! Saturn engine, no Honda! Polymer, no metal! Buy from a different kind of company, not GM!

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Old 08-28-2002, 11:14 AM   #19
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This surely is sad! By wiping off the names, those so-called "Management" not only killing off the uniqueness of this last true Saturn (Indeed, what Trim is that? SL/SL1/SL2), they're also killing off the team spirit for building better cars.

For me as a Saturn car owner, I don't mind ANY workers along the assembly line do signings on the car frame. (Regardless it's a milestone or special occasion car)....Indeed when we all think about it, the car(s) we own/buy/purchase are only built ONCE! Once the car(s) leave the factory line, they'll never go back to the people who built them.....those little signatures or writings are the only proof of dedication from people who once work on them.

Saturn Corp is still alive, but its Mission is dead!
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Old 08-28-2002, 11:21 AM   #20
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You should be thankful that is is the last S series car produced. How could anyone have regrets for the discontinuation of any product soo poorly conceived, designed, and constructed as a Saturn. There are no good American cars or car companies.
The Saturn is hardly the best American car. Even if it was that isin't saying much. I look forward to the day when there are no Saturns on the road old or new then I will no longer be reminded of the stupid decision I made in buying one.
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