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PurdueGuy

Letter e-mailed to Saturn customers

16 posts in this topic

February 18, 2009

We are still Saturn

From our very beginning, Saturn has always sought a better way. We pioneered no haggle-no hassle

shopping, built dent-resistant cars, set a new benchmark for customer service and forged a unique

relationship with our retailers, workers and customers. From the beginning, Saturn was launched as

a “Different kind of Car Company.”

Well, here we go again.

You may have read that General Motors delivered a plan to the U.S. government that outlined the

corporation’s plan for long term viability. In that plan, GM stated that Saturn would work with its

retailers to investigate options for the future of the Saturn brand. We said that all ideas were on the

table and we meant it.

Today, we confirmed that Saturn and GM would further investigate one of those options: a spin-off of

an independent Saturn Distribution Corporation.

The Saturn Distribution Corporation already exists as an indirect subsidiary of GM. It’s the entity with

which our retailers currently have their franchise agreement. An independent Saturn would still have

its great retailers, and it would continue to source current products from GM through 2011 and if

successful, SDC at that point would source products from other manufacturers.

The goal -- from a product perspective – would be to find future vehicles that match the Saturn brand:

fuel efficient, safe, reliable and affordable. From a retailing perspective, we would build on our core

strength of unmatched customer service. The same hassle-free experience that is a hallmark of the

brand could be taken to even higher levels.

While this process proceeds, we will continue to do what we have always done best: Sell great

vehicles and take care of our customers. We have a fresh portfolio of award-winning, fuel-efficient

vehicles and a network of retailers that is second to none. And our new vehicles are still backed by a

100,000 mile/5-year (whichever comes first) Transferable Powertrain Limited Warranty. When you

add Roadside Assistance and Courtesy Transportation Programs, we believe it is the industry’s best

overall coverage. It is coverage that GM and Saturn will continue to firmly stand behind and GM will

support the continued availability of Saturn parts and service as needed.

This is an exciting time at the Saturn brand, and I have to confess, it feels a bit like it did back in the

1980’s when the original Saturn project was being developed. As loyal Saturn owners and

enthusiasts, I know you support this brand and you can believe we are working towards a vibrant

future. Difficult times sometimes yield the most innovative solutions, and those who are willing to take

on the challenge will emerge victorious. Stay tuned.

Jill

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Since 2000, I've listened to Saturn fans who said GM did the right thing, discontinuing Oldsmobile and moving Saturn into the Oldsmobile price range, even giving Saturn products such as Outlook and Aura that could have fit well in the Oldsmobile show room. I've talked to Saturn dealers, who said they new all along, some since the mid 1990s that GM was getting ready to shut the lights at Olds and give Saturn a shot at Olds' market. I have had my stones busted for driving Oldsmobile products by Saturn owners who thought GM did the right thing.

Saturn owners, welcome to the club, please be seated. A GM adviser will be around shortly to try his/her darnedest to convince you that some other GM product is just as good, if not better, and that hanging onto the past is just silly isn't it.

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Saturn owners, welcome to the club, please be seated. A GM adviser will be around shortly to try his/her darnedest to convince you that some other GM product is just as good, if not better, and that hanging onto the past is just silly isn't it.

In a sense, they've already been trying to do that...

Personally, this whole thing makes me nervous. I'd rather see Saturn dead than sold to the Chinese to sell Cherys or other such crap. They're trying to sell it as "yay, Saturn will be independent like the good old days!", but yet you can see that Saturn would be dependent upon some other company for cars. Who would be interested? Someone that doesn't have US dealerships already. Could be a European make, but more likely, Chinese or Indian.

Edited by PurdueGuy
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This is an exciting time at the Saturn brand, and I have to confess, it feels a bit like it did back in the

1980’s when the original Saturn project was being developed.

Yeah, sure it does Jill... I'm sure it feels a little bit more like Oldsmobile in the year 2000. :rotflmao:

Edited by Pontiac Custom-S
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In a sense, they've already been trying to do that...

Personally, this whole thing makes me nervous. I'd rather see Saturn dead than sold to the Chinese to sell Cherys or other such crap. They're trying to sell it as "yay, Saturn will be independent like the good old days!", but yet you can see that Saturn would be dependent upon some other company for cars. Who would be interested? Someone that doesn't have US dealerships already. Could be a European make, but more likely, Chinese or Indian.

Puegeot and Citroen have some interesting products, but I'm not sure about their quality/reliability standings. I would come closer to buying a product from one of these 2 brands than some cheap and horrid Chinese/Indian deathtraps. This might be an interesting alternative for SDC, although highly unlikely.

Another longshot would be for SDC to approach Renault/Nissan about utilizing Saturn's dealership base as a way for relaunching Renault (which also has some cool products) in the U.S. The products would have to be assembled somewhere other than Europe to avoid the unfavorable exchange rate issues that plagued the pricing of the Saturn Astra. I doubt anything like this would happen since Renault/Nissan has announced that it is losing money and are planning to downsize their operations.

Heck, I wouldn't even mind seeing SDC cut a deal with Volkswagen to set the dealership base up as a bargain outlet for Seat/Skoda products. Before the economic meltdown hit, Volkswagen was claiming that they wanted to pass Toyota in global sales. This would give them the opportunity to do just that. Since Saturn started their existence as an affordable car make, this could be an interesting hookup for SDC (although it will probably never happen).

Basically, I wholeheartedly agree with your commment. I would much rather see SDC linked to a distribution deal with an European brand that wishes to launch/relaunch in North America than to see it hookup with a Chinese or Indian brand.

Edited by cire
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I get the feeling that there will be a lot of saturn trade ins at local dealerships.....

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I get the feeling that there will be a lot of saturn trade ins at local dealerships.....

As long as they are for other GM or domestic cars go ahead, sales will now really start to tank.

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Yeah, sure it does Jill... I'm sure it feels a little bit more like Oldsmobile in the year 2000. :rotflmao:

PCS I actually agree with you besides your love for Pontiac's.

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Assuming this isn't total BS, this would be pretty exciting. I'd like to see another company take a shot at Saturn.

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Perhaps Toyota will purchase Saturn and give us all those real cars they sell in Japan. Like Scion, but with a better dealer network. :P

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maybe now i'll finally get that fricking astra XR for the damn price i want soon (assuming i ever find employment)

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I got the letter too and I basically just chuckled as I read it. Saturn is the next Oldsmobile - the only difference is that there isn't as much cool heritage.

Saturn will most likely not be bought by another car company. GM is simply (and understandably so) just blowing sunshine up Saturn owner's asses. Most Saturn owners are not really "car people" (and I'm not being offensive to those people, they just simply aren't car people, nothing wrong with that at all obviously). But most Saturn owners simply don't follow the industry very closely, and can probably be told anything like this and truly believe it. The car nuts like us who post on these boards, used to drive Z28s, and have 68 Impalas in their driveways have their heads around just how much "deep $h!" the entire industry is in.

With that said though, I do think that maybe, just maybe, a Chinese start up could be interested in buying the brand and dealer network to get a jump on the market. Maybe. But if that happens, I'll be personally kind of pissed. Even though I'd be driving a 2008 model built by GM, it would suddenly be associated with some $h!ty Chinese company. I would assume at that point that if it needed parts and it was still under warranty, I could take it in to a Chevy dealer.

Personally, the thought has crossed my head to get rid of my Vue this weekend and get something that's more my "speed" like a Silverado, a G8, (or wait and get a Camaro if the Camaro actually comes to fruition). I mean, I really like my Vue for what it is (a decent running V6 SUV that I can haul things around in with a nice interior) and my wife totally loves it (although I catch flak for that from my friends that think I should have just got the Silverado I looked at the same day I bought the Vue). But I have this feeling that I'd be taking such a huge hit on it now that it just simply won't be worth it financially - at all.

Whatever, at the end of the day I'm totally fine with it because the car is nice and it's still so new.

It's interesting that Saturn does really bring a totally different type of buyer into the GM family (I'm not talking about me either). I think Saturn attracts buyers that don't typically buy other GM brands like younger professional women (or guys too) just starting out with a decent job after college who also look at foreign brands (like Honda and VW) too. Those are important customers that GM needs to attract. I think it may be harder to do that with Chevrolet going forward- not impossible, but just harder than it probably is with Saturn. Saturn does more or less have a positive image associated with it. I think GM still would have had a shot at proving their "viability" with Saturn still in the mix. They could have thought more outside the box with it - make Saturn the "brand" or division that sells nothing but E-Flex vehicles and hybrids for example.

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i still think this is enough rope for GM to take back Saturn in full if the economy turns back to good quick fast enough.

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Puegeot and Citroen have some interesting products, but I'm not sure about their quality/reliability standings. I would come closer to buying a product from one of these 2 brands than some cheap and horrid Chinese/Indian deathtraps. This might be an interesting alternative for SDC, although highly unlikely.

Another longshot would be for SDC to approach Renault/Nissan about utilizing Saturn's dealership base as a way for relaunching Renault (which also has some cool products) in the U.S. The products would have to be assembled somewhere other than Europe to avoid the unfavorable exchange rate issues that plagued the pricing of the Saturn Astra. I doubt anything like this would happen since Renault/Nissan has announced that it is losing money and are planning to downsize their operations.

Heck, I wouldn't even mind seeing SDC cut a deal with Volkswagen to set the dealership base up as a bargain outlet for Seat/Skoda products. Before the economic meltdown hit, Volkswagen was claiming that they wanted to pass Toyota in global sales. This would give them the opportunity to do just that. Since Saturn started their existence as an affordable car make, this could be an interesting hookup for SDC (although it will probably never happen).

Basically, I wholeheartedly agree with your commment. I would much rather see SDC linked to a distribution deal with an European brand that wishes to launch/relaunch in North America than to see it hookup with a Chinese or Indian brand.

Ha I was thinking the same thing, Saturn could be for PSA in North America, what Opel is for GM in Europe.

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maybe SDC can buy saab.

Nice thought, if it was only feasible. I doubt SDC will be able to buy anything. They will be fortunate enough if they find anyone other than a pitiful Chinese or Indian auto company to sign a distribution deal with them.

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