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The death of Saturn

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Sad, this article made me think about Saturn and how GM actually might have killed off another division without us knowing. As a 5 times Saturn owner, I do believe that Saturn is quickly becoming the new Oldsmobile.

Saturn: A Different Kind of Car Company, Indeed

September 5, 2007, 12:25 pm | By Jerry Garrett | Link to Original Article @ New York Times

At least Oldsmobile got a decent funeral. Saturn got nothing.

A lot of people don’t realize General Motors killed a second division, Saturn, recently. That’s because there was never an obit. Why? For some reason, G.M. wants people to think that Saturn is still alive. But G.M. has not only killed it, it has dismembered the body and dumped pieces at undisclosed locations, and replaced it with an impostor.

Saturn, the automobile manufacturer, R.I.P.

Saturn design? Dead. Saturn engineering? Just as dead. The old Spring Hill, Tenn., plant, where Saturns were once made, lives on, albeit with a transplanted heart (Chevrolet pun intended). But Spring Hill now just churns out generic G.M. stuff, like any other G.M. plant. Saturn employees really don’t exist anymore, despite what it may say on a few business cards. Everybody sporting a Saturn logo these days merely sells “G.M. cars.”

Sure, Saturn-badged cars are still sold. But Saturn, the company, is now reduced to being the United States marketing arm for Opel. Opel is a brand of G.M. car sold principally in Europe.

How did G.M. so stealthily pull off doing away with the old Saturn, and replacing it with the new pseudo-Saturn? I don’t know exactly, but it was almost the perfect crime. It would be interesting to unravel this murder mystery and identify the culprits. (Seems like G.M. could just as easily revive Oldsmobile by slapping Olds badges on, say, G.M.’s cool Holden vehicles from Australia!)

My colleague Lawrence Ulrich noted in his review of current Saturn-badged models that Opels are nice cars. Maybe Saturn is better off dead.

But the point is, I think the old Saturn deserved at least a memorial service. Proud Olds employees gave their old brand an almost Irish-quality wake, despite G.M.’s disdain.

I know a guy (I won’t use his name, because he still works at G.M. and is not allowed to talk about such things with the press) who was one of Saturn’s first 99 employees (known, believe it or not, as “the 99″), back when the “different kind of company” first started ramping up in the early 1980s to build “a different kind of car.” Everybody moved to Spring Hill to the new Saturn headquarters, where the vehicles would be designed, engineered and assembled. It was a heady time for those early pioneers, as they set out against long odds, to “reinvent the automobile,” as G.M. had charged them to do. Saturn was always a big money-loser for G.M. (G.M. won’t say how much the loss was), but customers were loyal, and resale values of Saturns were generally stellar, even if their reliability records weren’t.

“The sad part of this,” this fellow recently told me, “is that the Saturn system did, in my opinion, work although it had problems. It could have been a benefit to G.M. by helping it do things differently, but instead of building it up, G.M. killed it.”

Somewhere, true Saturn-lovers fly their flags at half-staff

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Stupid and pointless article with a slew of comments by people without a clue. If you want to see the perception problem read them.

What a bunch of ill-informed fools.

Saturn was a stupid idea and a complete waste of resources, until now.

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Except Saturn was pretty much dying with the mediocre products it had. Plastic panels were unique but the design inside and out was lackluster and so were the driving Dynamics.

I'll take the new Saturn over the old any day.

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It was assimilated and is now part of the GM collective as it should be. A few more need to be assimilated too! Resistance is futile. :smilewide:

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An obvious smear article aimed at GM. Something becoming quite common from the NYTimes lately (Tom Friedman ring any bells?)

First the journalists complain that GM neglected it's Saturn division and that they didn't get it and now that they're trying to do something about it, the brand is no longer Saturn-y enough for this d-bag. You just know that those people wrote comments about how they're leaving Saturn and going to Toyota are not Saturn people at all... but the same people who troll Autoblog, Caranddriver, and autoweek looking for ways to jump on the GM bashwagon.

I'd hate to sound like a blind follower here, but GM is truly alone when the press, and the government (both democrats and republicans) won't give them a fair shake.

They won't stop until the company is dead and buried. I say, screw 'em all.

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Saturn should never have existed in the first place.

The fact that it persisted as long as it did left GM with little option but to re-make it, and they've done a great job.

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I wonder if those twits at the New York Times will have the cojones to post what I just submitted as commentary on that article.

Only that rag would publish such an asinine article.

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Saturn should never have existed in the first place.

The fact that it persisted as long as it did left GM with little option but to re-make it, and they've done a great job thanks to Opel.

Fixed!

Edited by Pontiac Custom-S
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Fixed!

Don't sprain anything patting yourself on the back! :AH-HA_wink:

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Don't sprain anything patting yourself on the back! :AH-HA_wink:

I can't pat myself on the back, I still have pins and screws in my arm. :banghead:

Edited by Pontiac Custom-S
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I can't pat myself on the back, I still have pins and screws in my arm. :banghead:

I forgot about that injury!

The recovery going ok?

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Cast is off, the rest of my hardware that needs to be removed will be so, before I leave for Europe. Thanks for asking.

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What that artice said is exactly like saying "Buick City is gone, so therefore Buick no longer exists."

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Well, they actually posted my reply:

This article is nothing but pointless sentimental drivel. Caring about the old Saturn makes about as much sense as caring about the ugly ,old desk lamp in the Ikea commercial. From its inception, Saturn was an ill-conceived idea which rapidly became a black hole that GM threw money into. The Saturn experiment was a failure before it started and cost GM many times what it would have taken to bring its divisions up to par, and spare Oldsmobile its unfortunate fate. When the Saturn gamble was taken, fools were running the show.

Thankfully, those days are over. Finally, Saturn is relevant in the market and GM is building great cars throughout the entire brand structure. Most of you folks commenting here are stuck in the past. Look beyond the knee-jerk loyalty to Japanese products, and you will find that GM, and Ford for that matter, are building some of the highest quality products currently on the market.

It isn’t 1980 any more.

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I had to add another response to a rebuttal of my original post:

Chris,

If GM had simply invested in creating the same sort of car as the early Saturns for its then existing divisions instead of creating an entirely new division from scratch, literally billions could have been saved. The notion that they had to create an entirely new dealership structure, redundant R&D organization,manufacturing infrastructure, management structure, and all the myriad other expenses involved in launching a new brand just to build a competitive small car is patently absurd.

Only now has Saturn become a viable and valueable asset to GM. The original concept was almost totally bereft of logic, excepting the buying/ownership experience. An expensive , roundabout way to learn to treat your customers with respect.

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An obvious smear article aimed at GM. Something becoming quite common from the NYTimes lately (Tom Friedman ring any bells?)

First the journalists complain that GM neglected it's Saturn division and that they didn't get it and now that they're trying to do something about it, the brand is no longer Saturn-y enough for this d-bag. You just know that those people wrote comments about how they're leaving Saturn and going to Toyota are not Saturn people at all... but the same people who troll Autoblog, Caranddriver, and autoweek looking for ways to jump on the GM bashwagon.

I'd hate to sound like a blind follower here, but GM is truly alone when the press, and the government (both democrats and republicans) won't give them a fair shake.

They won't stop until the company is dead and buried. I say, screw 'em all.

^^^

It's a sad day when smear articles like this are ALLOWED out of the print room.

Seriously; how long did it take someone to put together this turd (Probably not more than 10 minutes given the lack of both fact and substance)

It's a sad day when the media is ALLOWED to smear a company like this without consequences.

But here's the great thing: the article is so f*cking jumbled and laughable that people who aren't enthusiasts (a.k.a. don't know the story behind all of the remarks in the first place) probably won't even know what the hell this idiot is talking about. I can see the confused looks on NY Times readers faces now (That is, if anyone even still reads newspapers---which are, probably more so than Detroit, a dieing industry)

Way to go dude... Get drunk again, and write another jewel that nobody comprehends and nobody cares about!

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My reply... I'm willing to bet good money that it won't appear.

"Wow..

After reading the responses to this article, I can see why something like this was allowed out of the print room in the first place. NY TImes and it's readers seem to be almost as like minded as Consumer Reports and it's readership.

It's the same thing everytime: "blah, blah, blah... GM makes crappy cars... Blah blah blah... They'll keep sucking until... Blah Blah Blah... I'm still mad about my 1981 Nova...etc."

It's time to wake up and LEARN that GM is making some of the best products on the market right now and has been for quite some time; read the facts folks, not opinion like this.

As for the article... It has no purpose, no facts, no real reason to exist and is pretty much an embarassment to the abilities once housed by it's parent organization. Hmmm.. Kind of sounds like the OLD Saturn, doesn't it."

AND I COULDN'T LEAVE IT ALONE (Another reply)

"P.S. I find very funny that GM remakes Saturn into it's most competitive offering in record time, thus sealing it's future as a large part of GM going forward, yet the NY Times still finds some way to criticize the brand and the corporation. It's really getting old outside of your core readership, which probably consists of people who haven't even looked at the new Saturns much less driven them."

Why -o- why do I enjoy starting $h! so much? It's good to be the FOG

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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My response!

Thank God the Wilmington Assembly Plant broke free of the Saturn yoke, to become a real GM assembly plant again. Yes we make the hot Kappa cars now!

As far as Saturn goes, blame Roger Smilth, Saturn was his baby, a baby that should have been aborted!

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It sounds like the author has a very hard time ot letting go of the past. The former Saturn was not working well. The new one is, well like always and better than before because the products are more relevant. Sales are up, products are world class. Whats the problem? Isn't anything good enough for the NY Times? Ohhhh, thats right. Toyota and Honda are good enough. I wonder if Toyota paid them to write that artcile with more advertising dollars hmmmm.

Old Saturn:

SL Sedan

SC Coupe

SW Wagon

LS Sedan

LS Wagon

New Saturn

Astra

Aura

Vue

Outlook

Sky

Hmmmm, which one would YOU choose? :unsure:

:retard: <-------NY Times articles

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It really seems that the media can't even wait long enough for Saturn to grow into a success before they begin tearing it down. All I've read lately is BAD editorials regarding Saturn or it's performance this year.

At least they waited until Cadillac actually started turning the corner before they ripped back into it.

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