GM Begs For $12 Billion, May Sacrifice Saturn, Pontiac, Saab

GM desperately wants an invite to the bailout party — and has submitted a request for $12 billion dollars. In return, GM will attempt to return to profitability by “explor[ing] alternatives for the Saturn brand,” as well as cutting “product offerings” at Pontiac.

From their press release:

In the U.S., GM will focus its product development and marketing efforts on four core brands – Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC. Pontiac will be a specialty brand with reduced product offerings within the Buick-Pontiac-GMC channel. Hummer has recently been put under strategic review, which includes the possible sale of the brand, and GM will immediately undertake a global strategic review of the Saab brand. As part of the plan, the company also will accelerate discussions with the Saturn retailers, consistent with their unique relationship, to explore alternatives for the Saturn brand.

GM Sends Congress Plan Asking For $12 To $18 Billion, “Alternatives” For Saturn Brand [Jalopnik]
(Photo: Computermachina )

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  1. mykie says:

    Oh no! What will we do without Pontiac, Saturn, and Saab?

    I’d trade ‘em all in to bring back Oldsmobile.

    • BusyBusyBusyBusySleep says:

      @mykie: YES. Another oldsmobile fan. I’ll always remember my Cutty.

      But my Pontiac isn’t that bad – my family’s been buying them for about 15 years now, and we haven’t had any major problems (of course, small ones, but what you expect from any car). The problem is more than they have too many lines, rather than the cars being *BAD* in and of themselves.

      Disclaimer: IMHO, IANAL, IAAPO (I am a Pontiac Owner), YMMV, etc etc etc.

      • Burgandy says:

        @BusyBusyBusyBusySleep: My parents still have their (and later my) 72 cutlass. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

      • Con Seannery says:

        @BusyBusyBusyBusySleep: I remember the family Olds. Good times…

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        @BusyBusyBusyBusySleep: Dude. My mom bought a Grand Am, and it was a decent car until the engine started falling apart. My mom got on a forum of Grand Am owners – about 75% of the people were experiencing the exact same problems. Alternator, AC, Window Motors, all gone under 20,000 miles.

        • BusyBusyBusyBusySleep says:

          @Oranges w/ Cheese: Yeah, I’ve heard of problems as well…however, people on that forum might only be on the forums in the first place to complain.

          How many times do people call up companies to compliment them on their fine services? It’s usually a call to complain about something (the back of a Kleenex box says Comments/Questions/Complaints, but how many people actually call to say “Man, I love these tissues, they get all the crap out of my nose!”).

          Also, yeah, with every brand of car/computer/blender, there will be people with problems, but there’s also a certain popularity bias – I used to work in an IT department that was almost entirely a Dell shop. After four years, I had nothing nice to say about Dells, because I’d seen every stupid little problem. After leaving, I reminded myself that a) I’d seen almost entirely Dell machines, and b) I only ever fixed the machines when they had problems. People didn’t bring them in when they weren’t having problems.

          In conclusion, we’ve owned at least 4 Pontiacs (that I can think of) with no problems over the past decade and a half. I’m sorry about your mom’s car, but my mom’s Volvo had similar problems a while ago, as did my Dad’s…well, everything. There’s always going to be some cars that just don’t work well, and people are always going to focus on those (naturally).

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @mykie: I miss mine too! My parents used Cutlass Ciera was my first car! Ah, love!

    • JediJohn82 says:

      @mykie: Just don’t bring back the Oldsmobile Achieva…owned one and was glad to get rid of it.

  2. parad0x360 says:

    Step 1- Make safer, more eco friendly cars that get more mpg and you got almost instant sales right there.

    I would have no issue buying American if they werent overpriced junk.

    Innovate or die.

    • robb9 says:

      @parad0x360:

      You do know that GM offers more vehicles that get above 30mpg than any other company right?

      So when are you going to buy a Malibu that gtes better mpg than a Camry or Accord?

      Put your money where your mouth is… thats all I’m sayin.

      • katylostherart says:

        @robb9: in america? and not “estimated highway mileage”?

        “Over a week-long test, we found the four cylinder Accord to be conservatively rated at 21 city and 31 highway miles per gallon (MPG), as we achieved 34 MPG on the highway and 28.1 combined in over 600 miles of driving.”

        “Chevrolet Malibu 4 cylinder 2.2 liter Automatic (4) Regular 21 city 31 highway”

        “Toyota Camry 4 cylinder 2.4 liter Manual (5) Regular 21 city 31 highway”

        i’m not seeing a difference. maybe you can find one. the camry’s even a slightly bigger engine running at the same mileage. that right there says room for improvement.

        [www.mpgomatic.com]

      • parad0x360 says:

        @robb9: My Acura RSX (a sports car) gets 33-35 mpg and its 6 years old.

        Oh and it was cheaper than a Malibu with the same options.

      • warf0x0r says:

        @robb9: Yeah um, my civic gets around 38 mpg in the summer and about 34mpg in the winter avg. Its rated 29/36, but its does more like 30/40… I don’t see any domestics that average above that… or just their standard “gets more than 30 mpg*”.

        They may have more vehicles that are greater than 30 mpg highway, but maybe they just have more vehicles… others could claim we have fewer vehicles, but they get better city and highway gas millage than GM vehicles.

        *Highway milage only, does really poor city.

        • RedwoodFlyer says:

          @warf0x0r: Not sure about the other brands, but I know that for Chevy, they distort the number by counting each trim level of the Impala, Malibu, etc as a different car – they had to do extra crash testing, but that was a small price to pay. However, the Silverado with its many versions? All count as 1 total – helps boost the average.

      • factotum says:

        @robb9: This has been debunked. They are essentially the same cars, only rebadged. That doesn’t qualify them as separate cars. Chevy Cobalt, Pontiac G5; Saturn Aura, Chevy Malibu; etc.

        “Sure, the claim is factually correct, but is GM’s implied dominance in the mileage game accurate? Look closer, bids DN writer Ann Job, and you’ll find the number only reflects about 30% of GM’s vast product line. Toyota and Honda, with their relatively narrower range of products, could claim 55% and 60% such mileage, respectively.”

        [jalopnik.com]

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        @robb9: 30mpg is nothing. We’ve been stuck at 30mpg for the last 20 years.

        As parad0x360 said, “Innovate or die”.

    • failurate says:

      @parad0x360: I think people buy cars more based on perceived initial value, cost of ownership, future resale value, and appeal of design.

      Basically quality sells cars. But am sure safety and eco-friendliness fit in there somewhere.

    • balthisar says:

      @parad0x360: If that were true, you’d own an American car. Or at least seriously consider them. Most cars on the road are American cars, and most people are happy with their cars. The Big 3 still own 40% of the market. Why the heck would you think they don’t build good cars?

      Maybe your preference isn’t an American car. That’s fine. I’ve owned two Hondas and a VW. But don’t lie about your reasons; that only shows what a small person you are.

      • katylostherart says:

        @balthisar: he really doesn’t have to be lying. american cars are overpriced for their actual worth. i mean just on what you get as far as a car’s lifetime knocks most american cars made now out. sure, we probably all know someone still driving around a 80 something bronco but it’s getting 8 miles to the gallon and has probably has a good smattering of body rust. ford has wiring problems. but i can look at the road and see a load more of cheap ass 92 civics that are running better than a 10 year old chevy.

      • parad0x360 says:

        @balthisar: I’m a small person because I wont buy an American car? My whole family drives them, I’ve owned 3 myself.

        Why dont I think they build good cars? Well, I know 3 mechanics, 2 of which work at dealers. What cars come in the most for defects or service long before they are due? American cars 9/10 times. What cars based on worldwide statistics have the worst pollution rates and get the least fuel economy? American cars.

        I didnt stop buying them because I have something against them. I checked into it and made the most cost effective choice in the long run.

        I also dont care if most people drive something. Just because alot of people use or do something doesnt make it the best option.

      • failurate says:

        @balthisar: I owned a Ford Focus. Was very fun to drive. Then one day, several bits of wiring dried up and broke and the car wouldn’t run. Had those bits snipped and replaced only to have other bits do the same thing. Ford neglected to use a quality wiring harness when building my car. This was 4 years ago. Maybe they use better parts now, but I am not willing to risky my time and money to find out.

        Why would I buy an American brand car that I should expect problems with in 3 to 4 years when I can buy a foreign brand car that I can expect to run nearly perfect for 10? They have pissed away their reputation by not taking care of the details.

    • cynu414 says:

      @parad0x360: I think better constructed cars would make a world of difference. My GM has more plastic in it than barbie factory. It even has parts on it that are held on by velcro. What is that about?

    • TouchMyMonkey says:

      @robb9: 4-banger Accord gets 32 MPG. Malibu – 29.

    • Zclyh3 says:

      @parad0x360:

      I like your quote.

      “Innovate or die.”

      LOL.

    • Anonymous says:

      @parad0x360: My 94 Saturn SL2 still gets around 35 mpg (city driving – on the highway, I get up to 40 mpg). The only thing I had to replace on it was the alternator a few years back, other than that it runs great, and it passed the emissions test with flying colors this summer. I drove that car from Seattle to Boston and back, and all over the Pacific Northwest. It has about 180 000 miles on it now. If I can find another car like that, but a bit more comfortable, I’d buy it in a heartbeat. Don’t think Saturns are made quite the same anymore though :(.

  3. tman996 says:

    Why don’t they drop GMC? They’re the same friggin trucks that are branded in Chevrolet. Seems like a waste…

    • HRHKingFridayXX says:

      @tman996: That was my initial thought. The only GM cars I would consider are SAAB and Saturn.

      Anyone who names a car “Vibe” (as in vibrator), should not get a bailout.

    • Anonymous says:

      @tman996: IIRC, GMC is marketed towards specific industry sales, duty trucks, if you will. I do think they could merge the commerical aspect of GMC with the Chevy namebadge.

    • mindshadow says:

      @tman996: I’ve thought this for a long time. GM seems to have an insane amount of overlap for their products. I’ve thought for a long time that GM should seperate like this:

      Chevy: Trucks & SUVs
      Cadillac: Luxury division
      Saturn: Cars (Saturn Corvette ZR-1? lol)

      That way you don’t have the same fucking car or truck being made under several different names.

      • Corporate_guy says:

        @mindshadow: Building the same car and selling it under different brands with slight changes is a profitable way to compete with other companies. If you can make a car you sell as a luxury car from many of the same parts as your economy car, you can have a car in both markets without much additional cost. Just like how name brand companies will also sell the same exact product in a generic box so they can control the whole market rather than letting a competitor take over the generic market. Basically it is what Toyota does with the Corolla. The same frame and mechanical parts are used in the Toyota Matrix and the Pontiac Vibe. The same car with a different top can be sold to a totally different customer. It’s like paying to develop one car, but being able to sell two totally different cars to the consumer.

        • endless says:

          @Corporate_guy:

          Thats all well and good.

          Except when the company you are competing with is yourself!

          Having chevy and caddy to fight toyota and lexus = good

          having chevy and saturn to fight pontiac? = BADDD

        • factotum says:

          @Corporate_guy: Excpet in GM’s case those models compete more with each other than other brands. While there are some cost savings in the initial design and engineering, limited resources are spread over more versions of a vehicle resulting in vehicles that are good but not class-leading.

          For example: Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice. Was there really a large market for 2 nearly identical two-seat roadsters with limited cargo room? Apparently not because after all those millions of dollars spent bringing them to market, they’ve been killed. If there was just the Pontiac, GM could have made it a Miata killer with the money used to develop the Saturn version.

          Maybe Lutz thought they would “make it up in volume” but when you’re losing 2 to 4 thousand per car, the last thing you want is more volume!

          • TechnoDestructo says:

            @factotum:

            There was a market. They were initially selling as fast as they could make them. The problem was that they cost too much and they couldn’t make a profit on them. The cargo room would probably have killed them eventually, without a redesign, though.

    • katylostherart says:

      @tman996: gmc cars tend to have more metal body panels than the chevy versions. at least, that WAS the main difference for a while.

    • nataku8_e30 says:

      @tman996: GMC also produces commercial grade trucks that are bigger than the 2500 / 3500 HD trucks that you get from both Chevy and GMC. I agree that they should eliminate some of the redundancy. Axe the Envoy, Canyon, Sierra 1500 and Acadia, and just sell them as the Trailblazer, Colorado, Silverado 1500 and Traverse. Then get rid of the Silverado 2500 / 3500, keep the HD Sierras and the bigger trucks. The sad thing is, Saab and Saturn seemed like two of the brands with the least model overlap, and Pontiac was heading in that direction too. I’d hate to see any of them get axed, although I do miss the “old” Saturns before they decided to make it an upscale import brand.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @tman996: they are pretty much the same trucks, but i don’t know that i would entirely ditch gmc. when it comes to heavy work trucks, fleet trucks, modified builds – basically the entire commercial marketplace – gm is selling more gmcs than chevys.

    • EricLecarde says:

      @tman996: This is exactly what my friends and I were discussing today. We concluded the following:

      Ford needs to drop Mercury, trim the fat on some of those models, and bring back the Crown Victoria for your Grand Marquis. Keep Lincoln, trim repetitive models and keep Volvo to compete with European brands like Saab and BMW.

      Chrysler needs to drop the Nitro from the Dodge line up. Drop half the Jeep line keeping the Patriot and the Wrangler Series.

      GM needs to get rid of the GMC and Saturn line ups and keep Pontiac, Chevy, and Cadillac as is. Keep Saab around as well to compete with European or at the very least allow them to break off as their own company.

      Rebranding trucks and SUVs with the Ford to Lincoln and Chevy to Cadillac/GMC and claiming the the extra 5k to the bill is luxury is crap. I’m not saying that is all there is to a Cadillac/Lincoln car/truck/suv but it just seems redundant and its those redunancies are part of the reason they’re failing.

  4. jpdanzig says:

    Why in the world is the General keeping Boo Ick? I mean, Buick…

    Can someone explain to me why GM and Ford divisions in other countries continue to make superb cars (the Mondeo, various Opel and Holden models), while the best GM can do here is produce way-overpriced Cadillacs and Ford gives us a stupid brickmobile the Flex plus yet another solid-rear-axle Mustang?

    And don’t get me started on those frightening-looking, overpriced pieces of junk wearing the Lincoln badge…

    • failurate says:

      @jpdanzig: The Ford Flex is the dumbest thing they could have possibly released. They had plenty of time to see that the trend was going against super sized SUVs… so what do they do? Instead of stopping and changing directions, they just keep on trucking with a plan that is obsolete, knowing that it is going to fail. Ford is a gigantic boat with a little tiny motor, totally unable to fight it’s own momentum.

    • Anonymous says:

      @jpdanzig: @jpdanzig:

      Q: “Why in *the world* is the General keeping Boo Ick?”

      (partial) A: China, which is Buick’s largest market.

      Anyway, I agree – American automotive has been overpriced junk for a long time (coming from a Detroiter).

      I’ll support US Auto. as soon as they begin manufacturing cars that can transform into robots. I’m sure they can afford to invest in R&D, considering the amount of excess “airplane money” that will be generated from the bailout.

  5. joeblevins says:

    I could imagine getting rid of the whole dealership style process and go to Car Stores. They wouldn’t be brand specific. Ask for a truck, they can show you new Toyota, Nissan, Ford or whatever. That way you get out of the dealership mentality. Few dealerships, and then lower inventory outstanding.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @joeblevins: So…basically, make Carmax sell new cars? I think it would be great, but Ford/Chevy would never go for it…last thing they want is for their product to be right next to a better, cheaper (made in USA) “import”! – Same reason Bose doesn’t allow retailers to permit A/B comparisons from Bose speakers to real speakers.

      • backbroken says:

        @RedwoodFlyer: I have a feeling there is a lot of crossover between the people who say American cars are high quality and the people who think Bose makes quality speakers.

        Don’t get me wrong…you can surely have a good experience with an American car. You can also buy a Toyota/Honda and have many problems. However, you can also successfully cross the street with your eyes closed. That doesn’t mean you should try. I prefer to put the odds in my favor.

  6. Kazari says:

    Let ‘em go bankrupt. Nothing motivates innovation and structural change like fighting for your life.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Kazari:

      Problem is, the car manufacturing industry alone gives jobs to over 13 million Americans. The financial industry gives jobs to 8 million.

      Financial Industry – 100’s of billions of dollars.
      Auto Industry – 0.

    • LandruBek says:

      @Kazari: Seriously. Let them die. They have had decades to read the handwriting on the wall and ignored it. But all of us need to be prepared for a few decades of pain as we slowly eliminate this necrosis. It’s going to cost us billions no matter what, but let’s not spend our billions propping up this wheezing industry suffering terminal dementia. Let them pass away without heroic measures. DNR.

      • downwithmonstercable says:

        @LandruBek: Did you read the writing on the wall? I doubt you foresaw this happening.

        Armchair economists. I love it.

        • LandruBek says:

          @downwithmonstercable: By “handwriting on the wall” I don’t mean anything esoteric: for goodness sakes, there’s a book from 1983 called The Decline and Fall of the American Automobile Industry. We’ve seen this coming for decades.

          Armchair economist? “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

        • AbsoluteIrrelevance says:

          @downwithmonstercable: Americans have been loudly complaining about the price of gas that has rarely fallen (up until recently) since Katrina. Let’s say everything has been fantastic for the Big Three before then, which it hasn’t. They have still had over three years to listen to the complaining and change their game plan. But they didn’t. These companies have been circling the drain for a long time, SO LONG that generations of people in their mid-20s like me have been pretty much brought up to buy foreign.

        • redkamel says:

          @downwithmonstercable: uh, it was pretty obvious in the early 2000’s that gas prices were going up, global warming was starting to become a topic, and that honda and toyota, now with good marketshare, were investing in hybrid technology. At the same time, US manufacturers made more trucks, bigger trucks, and Hummers, when it was clear that SUVs were just a fad. Obviously it would have been smart to add a few good SUVs to your line up, but not to base your entire company around them at that time. It wasnt that hard to see the writing, especially if you read any car magazines.

          • LostAngeles says:

            @redkamel: Yeah, this entire thread is pretty much covering it for me.

            I saw the headline about, “Please sir, may I have some more,” and I couldn’t help but utter, “I fucking hate you.” This is really pissing me off.

            Where the hell is this money when colleges and universities are raising fees and tuition to cover rising costs? Or for say, infrastructure?

    • Darkkeyboard says:

      @Kazari: If it were just the CEO, board and higher ups that were hurt by this, I’d be right there with you. But there are thousands of people being employed by these companies that would suffer. And not to mention the indirect people who’d lose too. What do we do with them?

      When Arthur Andersen closed here in Chicago, something like 1000 people were out of work. The job market here sucked to begin with, but with all those people looking for work, it’s damn near impossible to find work at all. And that’s just a smaller company. Do we need another Flint, Michigan? Or Detroit?

  7. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    I see a lot here about “cutting under-performers”, but here’s a news flash to the big 3: ALL YOUR LINES UNDERPERFORM. So you’re going to cut off the dead and leave only the dying? What are you going to do to raise quality (or perception thereof)? what are you going to do to increase fuel efficiency? What are you going to do to build a damn product that American’s will actually BUY?

  8. elysse says:

    Another example of being out of touch: why sacrifice Saturn (cost efficient, mostly fuel efficient) and Saab (safe, fairly fuel efficient, although lux priced….I’m biased because I own one, though) in order to save their lineups of gas-guzzling death traps??

    Yo, GM, lemme give you some advice: QUIT TRYING TO PUSH SHIT CARS PEOPLE DON’T WANT.

  9. axiomatic says:

    Only if they fire the whole design and engineering staff and all of upper management. Only then would I back this bailout request.

    • Corporate_guy says:

      @axiomatic: The purpose of the bailout is to prevent that. Under bankruptcy, they would have to do drastic things to become profitable. Under a bailout, they don’t have to do anything.

  10. allnitecp says:

    I am sorry, but for me to even consider it a good idea to give these guys bailouts, we are going to need a lot more assurance from them that they are going to invest the money in AMERICAN JARBS!!!

    It seems sad that I could buy a Mercedes, Toyota or even a Hyundai that has contributed more to the American economy by employing American workers than one of the Detroit Big 3 (most Fords and Chevys are made South of the Border).

    We should make it a stipulation that if they take our money, the should build the cars on American soil!

    They took our JARBS!

    • balthisar says:

      @allnitecp: Nothing you say is true. Like I said above to someone else, buy what you like, but don’t spread lies to justify your position because it only makes you look like an ignorant redneck who says “jarbs” without any sense of irony.

      If an American company has 1000 people in a plant building cars, and a German company has 1000 people in a plant building cars, then the American company is providing much, much more to the American economy than the Germany company, because assembling the car is such a tiny, little piece of the pie.

      Likewise, the vast majority of US brands are still built in the United States and Canada, not Mexico, but I guess since you’re being racist, Canada’s okay because most of them are white.

      • allnitecp says:

        @balthisar: I am glad to see that all of the irony of the ‘jarbs’ comment was lost on you.

        I do not see how you think that just because the company that employees is American based is better. In the long run, the fact that more foreign car manufacturers build more cars in the United States than Ford and GM combined! (Feel free to look up that fact from data compiled by PwC’s Automotive Institute back in 2005 – When Chrysler was still owned by Daimler).

        And its not just the assembly of vehicles, its the manufacturing of all of the components that make up the vehicles. Look at the American Jobs that have been created in the South by Toyota and Hyundai in MS, TN and AL. The invested in the economies of those communities as GM-backed Delphi closed plants and laid off workers.

        And I am also amused to see that all you gathered from my comment that I am racist. My mother would be proud. GDIAF!

    • 11hawkinst says:

      @allnitecp: Yes, you are right about most cars being made in Mexico. In fact, I had a Chevy that was made in Mexico and a Toyota that was made somewhere in the south (Tennessee or Kentucky maybe?). Anyways, just supporting what you are saying.

      @balthisar: okay, you’re just making extremely stupid assumptions and you should be aware of the fact that allnitecp wasn’t racist whatsoever in that comment. If anything, you’re the one being ignorant, not him because he is in fact telling the truth.

  11. SWBLOOPERS says:

    Uh, what stopped them from taking this “new” and “innovative” approach before they lost their shirts and needed a bailout?

  12. Parting says:

    Hummer. The word that describes perfectly what’s wrong with auto industry in USA.

    • kaptainkk says:

      @Meltdown: Exactly! Where else in the world were people lined up to buy a SUV that gets 10-13MPG?!! Cars can be made to get better gas mileage but the auto industry refused to do so after decades of being in cahoots with the oil industry. I would never under estimate what happens in corporate boardrooms! It’s all about the money no matter how you slice that big fat pie. Everyone wants a piece.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I don’t get it. About 10 days ago, GM said they were burning through something like $3B a month and would be insolvent be January. Now, walla, $12B will not only keep them going for a year or so, it will let them re-tool, innovate, research, etc. etc.

    Methinks they had (and likely still have) no f-ing clue what’s going on in their own company.

  14. humphrmi says:

    It doesn’t seem like they’re really promising anything, just “focus” (on four brands, doesn’t mean they won’t waste money on the rest), “review,” and “accelerate discussions.” How the hell does that make them suddenly more profitable? Sounds to me like they are just going to waste taxpayer money on a bunch of useless committees.

  15. Corporate-Shill says:

    As much as I like driving an econo car from Toys-r-Cars and Honder

    (actually they are pretty darn good cars)

    What is hell would happen to the price of the average Honder should GM disappear off the face of the earth?

    Same thing for Toys-r-Cars and Ford?

    Competition is good for the consumer, even if the choices sux dirty slimmy swamp water.

  16. downwithmonstercable says:

    Pontiac needs to just be shut down. Their cars are just heinously ugly rebadges of other cars. Plus, there’s that gross vibe when someone says “I drive a Pontiac.” It’s like taking a trip back to the 80’s, only to wind up in a trailer park.

  17. Psychosocial says:

    Chevy, Caddy, and GMC. Ditch everything else. It’s common sense really.

  18. homerjay- Smiling politely says:

    Cut Saturn??? You mean TELLING US what to pay for our cars isn’t even making you any money??? Good Lord what the hell are you doing over there???

  19. topgun says:

    I wish they would have deep-sixed SAAB before I bought one. That car deserves to die. I’d be glad to offer my as a sacrifice to the auto gods.

    • AlexPDL says:

      @topgun: I love my SAAB. Its 6 years old (got it used) and has 85,000 miles. I treat it well and it has not had any major issues. Immensely safe and works great in snow and ice.

    • EyeHeartPie says:

      @topgun: I bought a 2003 Saab last year, and so far the only money I have spent on it has been to replace the spark plugs and doing oil changes on it. I bought it with 48k miles on it, and it rides like a dream. Awesome car, great value for the money, and I love the internal layout of the car.

    • Goldenthorn says:

      @topgun: You had gotten a dud, and know not of what you speak. ’87 Saab here, 105k miles and runs beautifully. Only thing I’ve ever had to do-apart from regular maintenace like brakes, batteries, tires, etc-is replace the muffler a few times over the years (I’m not as good about braking at speed bumps as I should be), and the fuel injector a couple of years ago. Oh, I put in a cd player and new speakers a few years ago. And the gas cap cover has finally started to rust after 20 years, so I guess I need to do something about that… Seriously, Saab rocks.

    • ukthom says:

      @topgun: I miss my Saab 900T. I really do. Sure, the key went into the floor, and sure, the hood opened funny, and the engine was positioned even funnier, but I loved that car. Small, agile, and Turbo-charged, all without being a gas hog, even for 1988.

  20. dohtem says:

    robb9: stop regurgitating that “GM produces more cars that get 30 mpg than Honda or Toyota” nonsense.

    Does it not make more sense to go with a company that has gotten it right consistently since the mid 80’s (Toyota) than to go with the company that is just realizing what the consumer wants (GM)?

    How about going with the company whose cars have held their resale value consistently over the years (Honda/Toyota) than going with the company whose cars lose half their value in 2 years (GM)?

    I am tired of hearing half-assed reasons trying to convince us to buy their crap just because they are finally figuring it out. They can tape a ham sandwich to the Malibu and I will still choose the Camry over it!

    • cabjf says:

      @dohtem: Not to mention that the only reason GM makes more cars with 30+ mpg is because…

      They make more models than everyone else and rebadge the crap out of their vast array of models!

      That and what you said about them making crappy models to begin with (for the most part).

    • narq says:

      @dohtem: Yeah, I counted that list and Toyota had a lot more. GM considers each individual vehicle a different line or model. Like an LE and Sport model are two completely different cars to GM even though it’s essentially the same car.

  21. TrueBlue63 says:

    they need to cut back to 12 models, no more. they need to sell the same models globally, they need to globalize the supply chain, but that would mean firing executives

  22. B says:

    Nooo….don’t take my Saturn away. Ahh well, my next car was going to be a Hyundai anyways.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @B: Yay :D I’m <3’ing my Hyundai. I don’t like my service dealership though. My purchasing dealership was so much nicer.

  23. mindshadow says:

    @undefined: Right, I understand that much. But to me outside of having luxury and regular brands (e.g. Lexus and Toyota) GM seems to go way above and beyond in re-using their parts. The problem is the chassis they re-use they re-use to a point that it looks like they’re producing a lot of the same vehicle. Especially, as the OP mentioned, when you compare GMC and Chevy trucks.

  24. mac-phisto says:

    hopefully saturn goes independent – i’d like to see the dealers put up some cash to buy them. saturn is a lot more revolutionary than most think, largely b/c many of their bolder plans are stifled by gm management. i think independence would allow them to improve their offerings to the point that people actually begin to respect them as a carmaker.

    i hope they don’t kill pontiac altogether, but they should retire the brand for a few years & bring it back with some real performance offerings. i want to see a pontiac roadster that makes the audi/z crowd blush. i want to see a stock coupe that’ll dust the tuner crowd & make them drop another rent check on fatter pipes so at least their car is louder than mine. & i want to see a gto that’s worthy of the name – not some skippy rebrand. & please, please, please fix that problem with your brakes.

    & let saab & volvo go back from whence they came. & just a heads up for you swedes – every one of your cars should come standard with a case of vodka in the trunk. no excuses, here. just do it.

    • ironchef says:

      @mac-phisto: Saturn’s the most innovative of the group. What ever GM wants to build as a core, you know those brands are pure crap.

      • mac-phisto says:

        @ironchef: well, chevy was, is & always will be the core & i don’t think it’s all crap. their trucks are certainly the most reliable out there right now. the malibu has a pretty decent following – at least i see a lot of them on the road.

        yeah…that’s all i got. once you take their SUVs out of the lineup, pretty much everything else is shit.

    • Chip Skylark of Space says:

      @mac-phisto: I was looking at cars a year ago, and my problem with Saturn is what I’ve seen since they invented the line a decade or more ago. The trim does not fit. To look at the interior, you’d think you were sitting inside a Volkswagen (‘fine German engineering’ my ass). Looking around the cabin, the parts never look like they fit together.

      With 60 years of an adversarial relationship with their employees, it would be really hard to reverse the trend now that they need to do so right now, but they need to partner with the employees and not treat them like dirt.

      One other thing I’d do, is if I’m committed to changing things, I would simply shut down some of these big boats they’ve been building. Close down the line and move on. Bring in some of the European lines that are so successful there, and make them here.

  25. howtragic says:

    Why on earth would anyone even CONSIDER giving $12 billion dollars to a bunch of people who have no fucking clue how to run a successful business?

    Would a regular bank give out a small business loan to someone who just ran their business into the ground because of their incompetence? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

  26. ironchef says:

    Iraq war gobbles up $125 billion EVERY YEAR. To think we could have bailed out GM 10 times over with that kind of free for all spending.

    Maybe GM should replace Haliburton and get those GOP sweetheart NO BID contracts.

  27. caj11 says:

    Well did they at least fly commercial this time when they went to DC?

  28. Roeroica says:

    seriously. I remember seeing the Chevy Aveo and its MPG rating which is abyssmal for a car that small and it isnt much cheaper than a Yaris. There is a reason why few GM cars are consumer report good bets or get good reviews (i’m not talking about people who own the cars, i’m talking about reviews from places like Edmunds.com). IAWTC that they should cut their various offerings down a lot and focus on making the few viable models much better.

  29. DeeJayQueue says:

    @undefined: @Corporate_guy: It’s actually a Toyota Matrix, which is a Corolla with a wagon top.

    /pedant

  30. kaptainkk says:

    I hate to see people lose their jobs, while those f&^%$@ fat cats at the top continue to get bonuses on government sponsered bailouts but for the love of god can someone explain to me how corporate welfare is a good thing…

    • TVarmy says:

      @kaptainkk: At this point, it’s starting to sound like the logical extreme of the Republican rhetoric that low taxes/more benefits for the rich encourages them to expand their businesses and consumption and create jobs. However, instead of offering tax cuts shouldered by the less rich, now we’re being encouraged to just cut them a check.

      This is what it sounds like to me. I know little about economics, and I really don’t know what’s best to do. It sounds like it’s circumventing the principles the free market is based on, but at the same time it’s not always clear that the free market is the best option.

      • failurate says:

        @TVarmy: It’s redistribution of wealth. We just have to wait for it to trickle down again… so we can redistribute it back to them.

    • RichasB says:

      @kaptainkk: ACTUALLY, most American car makers OUT SOURCE! Honda, Toyota, & Nissan have more American employees. That sir, is what you call Irony :/

      So, you should rephrase it to “I hate to see Mexican people lose their jobs…….”

  31. mbz32190 says:

    GM is seriously stupid. Saturn is the only GM label I would consider purchasing. I see more Saturn’s on the roads than Chevy (cars) or Pontiac automobiles.

    • ParkPlace says:

      @mbz32190: Agree 100%. I have an older Saturn and love it. It’s incredibly dependable and stylish and I love the service that came with it (maybe that’s just my dealership though). Axing Saturn is a mistake–of all the GM brands, it’s my (biased) favorite. I used to own a Pontiac and it was a royal piece of shit.

  32. elislider says:

    i never understood why GMC and Chevy are touted as different brands, just drop GMC altogether. Same goe sfor Buick, what good do they do? cars for grandma? At least keep saab around, subaru might even have an interest in them. Pontiac and saturn are also creative and different cars. Cadillac and hummer are equally useless, GMC is a clone, and buicks arent anything special either

  33. TVarmy says:

    I’ve been meaning to buy a Vibe or Matrix to replace my no-ABS and weird looking PT Cruiser. If Pontiac goes off the market, will that drive up the price for used Vibes, because the prime reason I was into the car was that it is near identical to the Matrix but is somewhat cheaper in general.

    • failurate says:

      @TVarmy: Most likely it will drive down the price of all Pontiac cars since they might be perceived as not being backed or serviced by their maker.

  34. th1nwhiteduke says:

    @Roy Hobbs: You are a glutton for punishment. One was enough for me to realize I wanted a car designed by people who weren’t idiots.

  35. Sollus says:

    I wanted to buy a G8. :( I can live with the Grand Prix and G5 getting the can but please, please, please keep the G6,G8 and Solstice.

  36. BillyShears says:

    I will never, ever understand how Buick, a brand that seems to be marketed exclusively towards the retiree set in Florida and the southwest, isn’t being considered.

    No matter what, though, they DO need to shed some nameplates.

  37. Scoobatz says:

    Fast forward X number of years after the $16 billion bailout has been paid and invested, and the companies CONTINUE to have financial problems. Then, what? I don’t remember seeing any good plans for how this money will be used to turn things around. There’s certainly no guarantees that this money will do anything positive in the long run.

  38. bohemian says:

    This discussion is just a good reminder of why the US automakers are a failure of their own design. Imagine trying to get a business loan for a company with multiple divisions working on their own producing and selling the exact same vehicle with minor revisions based on the market. You would be laughed out of anywhere you presented such a wasteful idea.

    GM needs to be ONE operation, ie: make Cadillac one or two models under GM. They never should have bought Saab in the first place. All of the GM sub brands except for Saturn are just a total waste of money.

  39. technopimp says:

    Umm…so…the new Saab I bought last year with the 5 year GM warranty…what, uh…what would you say I’m gonna do about that?

    • AlexPDL says:

      @technopimp: They have to honor the warranty. They are looking into creating a special trust in case there is a bankruptcy…the fund will cover the warranties and parts distribution.

      By the way I love my SAAB. :-)

  40. Swizzler121 says:

    everyone together now! give ‘em the big American one-finger salute!

  41. pal003 says:

    I would much rather Save 3+ Million Auto Industry Jobs here in the US at the bargain loan of $12 Billion.

    Better saving them than the blood-sucking Worst Management Ever Banking Industry – seriously, they Gambled away about $2 TRILLION of CDOs. Let THE BANK CEOs Rot in Jail!!!!

  42. 1964F100 says:

    GM should just make Crapo-, I mean Chevrolet its bread-and-butter car make (no trucks); combine Pontiac and Saturn into GM’s mid-range division; preserve Cadillac as its luxury marque; and, except for preserving the rapper’s favorite Caddy Escalade, return GMC to its truck-based roots.

    Notice I did not use the word “brand.” Every time I read car lines referred to as “brands” instead of “makes” or “marques,” it sounds to me as if the industry is selling boxes of cereal or bottles of laundry detergent, not durable goods (not that GM cars are especially durable to begin with :) ).

  43. chauncy that billups says:

    Saturn is the ONE American brand that I would even consider when shopping for a car. Hopefully they sell it or it goes independent.

    • katieoh says:

      @bilups: my family has owned two saturns, and they’ve been the biggest turds of cars we’ve ever had. i do not recommend them at all. our 3-year old VUE had its’ plastic inner doorframe start to COME OFF at one point. took it to the dealer, they charged us like $200 to put a single screw in to hold it in place. assholes.

  44. AbinaCatreus says:

    Why oh why would they keep Buick? Everyone who knows that name and still respects it is either dead, or to old to drive anyways. Thats what Cadillac is for. When I hear the word Saturn it just screams plastic to me. Pontiac’s new line up and rwd platform is amazing but came out too late and is already axed. Reviewers have said they remind them of what BMW used to be before they were ridiculously overpriced.

    They need to cut dealerships. They need to get new business models thought up by people who understand how the world works now days. They just need otto declare bankruptcy, get it over with, and come out better companies in the end. Thank god I don’t work in the car industry though

  45. katieoh says:

    my dad is an engineer for a supplier in the auto industry. SEVERAL times he has gone to ford/gm/chrysler plants and been absolutely aghast at the lack of intelligence and/or effort shown by the workers there. once he watched a line worker put a door frame through a machine that was functioning improperly, which caused a defect. the guy just sent it right down on the line, not even noticing or acknowledging what happened.

    i’ll never buy american, honestly. i care more about my money than that.

  46. katieoh says:

    also, it’s worth noting that a HUGE part of these companies’ budgets are devoted to employee pensions. some ridiculous percentage [my father said he thought it was like 40%, but that seems high] i mean, when you have run-of-the-mill factory workers who were making $80/hr when they retired, the companies have to fork over shitloads of money. that’s what needs restructured, moreso than anything else, i think.

    • RichasB says:

      @katieoh: A lot of people despise Unions because of that, but then again, the car companies did treat did badly first. I see unions as the “fat goons”, hired by arrogant people with next-to-nothing educations, fighting the “fatter goons” running the companies. Modern capitalism, it’s like a elementary play ground full of greedy bullies lol

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @katieoh: $125 BILLION dollars for GM alone – before they buy anything to actually MAKE cars, they’ve spent that on Legacy costs.

  47. Cary says:

    I believe the current Pontiacs are mostly born of GM Australia platforms and the Saturn lineup is currently rebadged Chevy SUVs and GM Europe platforms.

    The Sabaru is gone with the sale of Subaru and the Saab SUV is yet another rebadged Chevy SUV.

    Back in 2000, during one of my Audi’s many, many visits to the repair shop, I was given a new LeSabre as a loaner. With under 500 miles on the clock the fake-chrome was already peeling off the shift lever and window switches. As far as “handling” I only needed two fingers to drive; one on the wheel to steer and one up my nose.

    When it came time to make the Audi someone else’s problem I didn’t even consider a GM (or Ford or Chrysler) product. Nor would I today. 6 years in an IS300 Sportcross and the only repair has been a piece of plastic my mechanic accidentally broke.

    • RichasB says:

      @Cary: Lexus’ are crazy tough cars. I once drove a 1994 Lexus with a blown head gaskets that still drove pretty smoothly! Try that in a American car and you get yourself a fire lol

      Maybe Lexus should make Pick-ups with cars so tough :p

  48. RichasB says:

    My father owned his business and WE ALL KNOW that if he ever made any horrible business moves (i.e., like buying super risky loans, making cars no one wants, etc) that the government would NOT have offered any bailout to him. NONE whatsoever. My father would have filed for bankruptcy and we would have lost our home.

    So why is it any different for GM?!?! Or even Wall Street?

    If you don’t know how to run a business, you’re going out of business. End of story. Let GM burn, maybe they’ll be a good history lesson for someone with some logic.

    And don’t say people will lose their jobs because Honda, Toyota, and Nissan have more American employees than “The Big 3″! Honda is more American than GM or Ford, who out sources to Mexico!!!

  49. Datacloud says:

    I drive a lot of rental cars. They are all Fords, Pontiacs, Chevys, etc. Now everytime I see one of them on the road, I assume it’s a rental. I would guess a lot of people think the same thing. Not the image you want floating out there. I wonder what would happen if all of the rental car companies ditched them. Sometimes I think they’re the only ones keeping the “Big 3″ afloat.

  50. MooseOfReason says:

    They should sell cars like computers.

    Let people customize their own. Build it when they order it, and ship it to them. They waste so much money making them and having them sit in dealerships. And then at the end of the year, they have a giant sale with slashed prices because they need to get rid of them.

    There’s a Norwegian company that will do something like that with the Th!nk electric car. Kind of funny – Ford sold Th!nk a couple years ago…

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @MooseOfReason: I got a good deal from a car that had been sitting on the lot for 6 months. It has a weird smattering of options, but its a good car. (Hyundai)

      My mom built her ’97 Grand Am and it probably cost about $5000 more than if she had just taken one off the lot.

      • mac-phisto says:

        @Oranges w/ Cheese: my dad got an awesome deal on a ’97 widetrack grand prix back in the day b/c it was “made-to-order” – it had every option you could order (which subsequently brought the price to $2,000 over the GTP coupe, so the guy told them to keep it & bought the coupe instead).

        after it sat on the lot for 6 months, my dad picked it up for the price of the base model – about $6,000 less than sticker. that car rocked! best feature: a HUD that projected the instrument panel info onto the windshield just above the dashboard. worst feature: the speed governor that kicked in ~115mph. damn thing made me think i blew the engine out of that car a month after my dad bought it.

  51. Anonymous says:

    I have owned Saturns for the past 8 years. My First was a used SL I paid less than 8k for.. it was 3 years old and had 17k on it. I drove the car for 4 years and the only thing I put in it was a clutch at 150k and normal maintenance. The service, the sales and the overall experience with the first car was amazing, prompting me to buy my Brand new VUE. Everything was excellent for the first 60k from 60k to the present 120k I have spent nearly 6k in repairs and the Suv is worth less than I owe. Service has been abysmal so much so that, I was refused entry to fix a problem that they denied existed, only to drive to another dealership to find that not only did one wheel bearing need replacement but both front. I attempted to get some restistution from Saturn and I was told it was a purchasing dealer problem and I was sent on my merry way. Saturn is nothing more than GM’s attempt to corner the Foreign Car buyer market.. and is no longer a warm fuzzy name plate.
    Spring Hill doesnt hold BBQ’s and they dont build Saturns… they build the Enclave/Traverse/Outlook. So sad.. Time to buy a Toyota. a Honda… hell even a Suzuki

  52. moore850 says:

    considering options for saturn sounds like they want to sell it, if they were to stop making saturns i’d probably cry as a saturn owner.

  53. Anonymous says:

    I am in europe right now and they need to come here to see cars. They are smaller fuel efficient and drive just awesome. I drove in a Renault clio taxi cab with about 120.000km on board and the ride was superb. My us focus with 66k had its shocks changed 2 times and the car still has a check engine light on.

  54. captadam says:

    They’ve done a nice job of flushing Saab down the toilet. Nice work, GM.

  55. Anonymous says:

    The Saab is the safest car they make, and if they brought over the 1.9TDI, and Flex versions they have EVERYWHERE but the US they’d also be getting ~50mpg!
    A safe, fuel efficient car that doesn’t look like straight crap?! Wow what a concept! Bring over the TDI!!!

  56. reservoirr says:

    Heard this on the radio…
    Why don’t the big 3 go begging the countries they moved a bunch of the jobs to for the money. Go beg Mexico and the like, see how much you get.

  57. revmatty says:

    Works for me, Saturn is the last US branded car I’d consider buying. They shut that down and I’m done with American cars altogether.

    When are we going to stop pretending that our economy is based on the principles of free-market capitalism?

  58. radiochief says:

    I would not mind seeing the Big Three going bankrupt… Seriously, a lot more car companies have gone out of business than the ones STILL in business.

    My worries are for the tangential and collateral damage. Supply chain/Parts companies/Tool+Die Makers all will failb if the Big Three go down. Not to mention all those restaurants and services from the local economies that thrive the Big Three’s plants and offices physically being there.

    Here’s my take:

    For the life of me, I can not figure out why Chrysler/Dodge is still in business? Really, the only cars I’d buy from them would be a Mini-Van, a Challenger or a Magnum and possibly Ram Truck. That’s it… Everything is else is superfluous.

    Ford/Lincoln+Mercury: pretty decent shape as far as I am concerned. I’d wish they’d keep the full 34% stake in Mazda- but, oh well… Keep Lincoln– they do make a lot of good stuff. Drop all Mercury, except for the Grand Marquis. Ford get rid of Taurus/500 now. The Fusion is a better car. Get out of minivans now. Keep truck line. Develop better cars.

    GM: This is easy. Either go bankrupt or drop 80% of all lines. I’d like to see something like this– a GM brand side branded with car companies. Take the best from each line… For Chevy: Corvette, Camaro, Malibu, Volt and an econo-car and ALL trucks. Kill all Buick except for high-end SUV like Lucerne… I’d like to see Pontiac and Saturn combine. Both those companies seem to take the Euro and Down-Under GM stuff anyways… Kill GMC– roll all trucks into Chevy. Ford does not have a ‘professional’ company for their largest trucks… Why should you?

    All American companies should get rid all redundancy. The whole rebadging and let’s add some chrome accents and it’s a Mercury days are over. Just make a slightly nice appointed Ford Fusion. Don’t make a Cavalier into a Cadillac. All that does is dilute your brand. Make them distinct and smaller. Don’t get people confused. Like, I want a sports car. Do I want a Camaro or a Fire Chicken? No, they are the same car. I am so confused maybe I’ll buy that Stang that just blew by. Or perhaps a Supra… (I know the refs may be dated, but you know what I mean.)

    I remember… and this dates me. I went roller-skating with my mom’s friend, and she pulled up in a Pontiac J1000. That’s a Chevy Chevette for you youngins… My dad had a Chevy Chevette, and I was like why did this chick buy a Pontiac instead of a Chevy…? They like the little badge so much?

  59. emich27 says:

    At least Ford and GM seem to have some sort of real plan (whether it would actually work remains to be seen). Chrysler is totally clueless. Lately they’ve been pumping free in-car DVD players on some of their models. They really don’t get it, do they? People aren’t flocking to the foreign autos for heated cup-holders, refrigerated glove boxes, free DVD players, “sto-n-go” and the like. Who cares if I can keep my coffee hot, if my car guzzles gas and is a piece of junk?

  60. backbroken says:

    If you want to save the American auto industry, go back in time 50 years and convince the Big 3 to get their heads out of their asses and listen to what the man (W. Edwards Deming) was talking about.

    Instead they laughed him all the way to Japan, where the manufacturers ate up his statistical approach to quality. Anybody here old enough to remember when ‘Made in Japan’ meant ‘Made like Crap’? The adoption of Deming’s/Taylor’s scientific statistical manufacturing process control is directly responsible for the ascension of the Japanese automobile and electronics manufacturing industries. If you want to know why the Big 3 failed, well, there you go.

  61. Anonymous says:

    This hasn’t been pointed out so I figure it is worth mentioning.

    Health care is at the core of this problem and let me explain why.

    When the unions come to the table with these automakers, they are asking for health care benefits for themselves and their families that far outweigh the value of what other manufacturers (who don’t employ union workers, ie Toyota, Honda) are having to pay out of pocket.

    For this reason, I strongly believe that you save the Big 3, or at least the more competent Ford and GM, by putting into place an affordable health care system. This way, unions can focus on retention of strong workers, the automakers can stay in the black and the focus will be on development instead of just keeping their heads above water.

  62. Anonymous says:

    Customer support is even more important than quality and price.
    My sons first car was a 1993 dodge Shadow. Very soon paint chips started. The dealer said it was stone chips and not covered under warranty. he later found out that this was a paint problem and they knew about it 5 years before. The rest of the car was fantastic, but w/ lousy dealer support, he never looked at a chrysler product again.

  63. BG34C says:

    I can help but try to think of the last time I saw a new Buick driving on the road. It has been a while.

  64. narq says:

    Hey government I’ll offer you a better deal! If you give me only $2 million, I’ll explore alternatives for my home appliances and cut my product offerings on ebay. That’s pretty much the same deal GM is giving you right?

  65. ukthom says:

    Saab used to be known as quirky cars from Sweden that needed a special someone to enjoy them. Now, like their cousins, Volvo (a divison of Ford), they are suffering the ultra-vanilla redux that comes with the GM touch. I say, set Saab free, and return to the ultra quirky, ultra cool cars they once were (way before the stupic 9-7/Chevy TrailBlazer came out of the garage).