Sad Email From Saturn Reassuring You That GM Will Still Make Parts For Your Car

Reader James forwarded us a sad email he got from Saturn, in which they admit that GM is probably going to give them the ax. In it, they emphasize that their warranties feature the “industry’s best overall coverage” and that no matter what “GM will support the continued availability of Saturn parts and service as needed.”

Dear [redacted]:

From our very beginning, Saturn has always sought a better way. We pioneered no-hassle, no-haggle 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. 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 1980s 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 toward 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.

Sincerely,

Jill Lajdziak
General Manager, Saturn

Comments

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  1. nataku8_e30 says:

    Well, considering that you can still go buy parts for Oldsmobiles, it’s not too surprising that you’ll still be able to buy Saturn parts. It also helps that they share a lot of parts with their badge engineered counterparts (at least after the S-series).

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @nataku83: i didn’t actually realize that Oldsmobile was axed until a few months ago when GM started begging for money

  2. gardenwzl says:

    I can’t believe GM is chucking Saturn and keeping Buick. Should be the other way around.

    • cynical_bastard says:

      @gardenwzl: Theres always going to be old people, thats why they are keeping buick…

      • Kirk Douglas says:

        @gardenwzl:

        Buick sells extremely well in China as well. They love the floaty ride.

        • David Brodbeck says:

          @jaydez: Heh, tell me about it. I have one car that’s 19 years old and another that’s 36 years old. Depending on whether a part was shared with later models, and how popular the car was, some stuff can be tough to find. Common wear parts like bearings, CV joints, brake pads, and that kind of thing aren’t usually hard to find, but if you need something that isn’t as commonly replaced you’d better make friends with a good junk yard or be prepared to exercise some ingenuity.

          Another thing is many automakers will heavily jack up the prices on old parts they stock as they get rarer. I was once quoted over $400 from a dealer for a special radiator hose for a VW.

        • failurate says:

          @Kirk Douglas: It’s like driving grandma’s sofa.

      • Jim Topoleski says:

        @cynical_bastard: Except they sell more Saturns than Buick, and they are just moving the Opels Saturn was going to get in 2010 to Buick now (ie the LaCrosse which is a Opel Insight)

        And nothing says they couldn’t close Buicks US operations and leave the china one open (since the China one is independent of the US brand and has cars the US brand doesn’t even offer

        The only reason they are chucking Saturn and keeping Buick is the name. Buick has been a GM brand for ages, Saturn? only since 1985 (and then only started selling cars since 1990)

        • nataku8_e30 says:

          @Jim Topoleski: I think it has a lot more to do with GM’s internal structure. Saturn is not nearly as integral a part of their operations and dealership structure as Buick is, even if Buick has been neglected and doesn’t sell very many cars anymore. Unfortunately, this is more about ease of shedding brands than it is about what brands they shed…

        • AskCars says:

          @Jim Topoleski: No GM sold more Buicks in January than Saturns while in 2008 it sold 12K Buicks vs 15K saturns. Buick has 3 models. Saturn has 5. Buicks cost more and make more money for GM.

          The new Buick Lacrosse looks to be an excellent new sedan and the Enclave was a big success for them lowering the avg age of their customers. GM has made a lot of mistakes but Saturn is clearly a brand without a direction while Buick has an upside.

          • Jim Topoleski says:

            @Rabbi Dave: ummm not by REAL numbers it didnt.

            Saturn: 400 retailers, 5 models = 188,004 sales = 470 sales/retailer

            Buick: 2700 dealers, 3 models = 137,197 sales = 51 sales/dealer

            Saturn sold over 50,000 more cars than Buick.

    • lars2112 says:

      @gardenwzl: Saturn was the only american made car I owned that did not DIE before 100K. Not saying all american cars do die before 100K but I treated my saturn like crap and putting on 75K in 1 year the thing was great. My F250 and Jimmy (both of which were serviced a lot) died or had serious repair bills before reaching 100K.

      I hope someone buys Saturn or they get a chunck of the bail out going to GM and just become a stand alone car maker.

      • 67alecto says:

        @lars2112: Everyone has that story about *some* car model – for me it’s Chevy. The one I had, I had to keep taking back to the dealer once a week for the first 6 weeks I had it. Other people swear by the brand.

        Heck, look at the cab companies who get 250k-500k on their ford crown victorias.

        When I bought my 1967 Plymouth Fury, it had over 160,000 miles on it, and yet the air conditioning, AM radio, and all other options still worked like a charm.

        Your Mileage May Vary, indeed.

        • David Brodbeck says:

          @67alecto: The Crown Vic is a dinosaur, but it’s pretty bulletproof except for the transmission. If you’re willing to put a new tranny in it every 150,000 miles you can drive one basically forever. Some years also had problems with the valve stem seals that made them burn oil, but that’s a one-time fix (or you can just keep dumping oil in it.) Really should have been a recall, though, IMHO.

    • HarcourtArmstrong says:

      @gardenwzl: Old people are more likely to pay for their Buicks with cash, which is useful for a company with very little of it. Saturn owners tend to be younger, require financing, and are more likely to default on said financing.

    • scootinger says:

      @gardenwzl: Yes, they’re downright stupid to scrap Saturn and keep GMC, which 1) sells enormous gas-guzzlers that nobody wants and 2) sells practically NOTHING but vehicles also sold under the Chevrolet brand.

      In my opinion GM is almost as undeserving of the bailout as the morons at Citibank.

      • Canino says:

        @scootinger: Yes, they’re downright stupid to scrap Saturn and keep GMC

        Not necessarily. GMC is their commercial brand – heavy trucks used in construction, dump trucks, etc. It isn’t meant to be a consumer brand except for the one or two models consumers buy from them. Most of what GMC sells is heavy, and GM needs a brand in the heavy equipment market.

      • acarr260 says:

        @scootinger: GM is big in medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. It’s obvious that you know very little about the auto industry.

        Saturn’s dealership structure makes it the obvious choice among GM’s brands given that the dealers seemingly have little recourse for the brand getting the axe. That is only exacerbated given the fact that Saturn no longer has stand-along models – they are all rebadged GM products from other brands.

      • AskCars says:

        @scootinger: Again GMC sells 3x as many units as Saturn. And they make a ton of money on them as they’re basically high end chevys. They have loyal owners. Everyone thinks they’re an auto expert but really don’t understand the business end of it. Again, GM makes a lot of mistakes but they were smart to consolidate GMC Buick and Pontiac a few years back on the dealer side. Now they can keep making money with GMC and Buick. They are positives in their portfolio.

      • David Brodbeck says:

        @scootinger: My guess is they’re keeping GMC for two reasons:

        - Because almost everything they sell is a badge-engineered Chevy, it probably costs them almost nothing to keep the brand. GMC doesn’t even advertise heavily. How much can it cost to crank out badges?

        - GMC is rumored to have absurd levels of brand loyalty. If GM drops the brand it’s not guaranteed those people would move to Chevy instead of Ford.

        • failurate says:

          @David Brodbeck: GMC is fleet trucks, large and larger. The few non commercial passenger vehicles they sell might drop by the wayside, but I highly doubt that as people movers are often needed to go with material movers.
          Commercial trucks is GMC’s bread and butter.

          • PølάrβǽЯ says:

            @failurate: So my (imaginary) GMC Yukon Denali XL with leather, DVD system, power seats and electronic climate control is a fleet truck?

            Most of the GMCs I see on the road are luxury versions of Chevy rigs.

            • Jim Topoleski says:

              @Don’t take anything aaron8301 says seriously: oh they do do luxury. GMC has come to be more of a “Buick” for their Chevy trucks, not quite as nice (and useless) as their Caddie SUVs, but not as utilitarian as your Chevy ones.

              BUT GMC also has a bigger commercial truck production than Chevy, even though both make the SAME commercial trucks.

              Quite honestly if they killed GMC and made it a badge version of their Chevy trucks (like Pontiac is going to be performance versions of Chevy cars ala the G6 as well as one offs like the G8), they could get rid of all the dealer and managerial back end while keeping their production, thus saving money.

              But then they would have to again pay off their dealer network which will kill any savings they would have gotten from it.

        • TechnoDestructo says:

          @David Brodbeck:

          Commercial vehicles. That probably explains the brand loyalty, too.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @gardenwzl: As in, chuck GM and keep Saturn? Totally agree.

    • I_am_Awesome says:

      @gardenwzl:
      Buicks are the most reliable cars GM makes. If people would look past the geriatric stereotype, they’d realize that Buicks are actually good cars.

      • Wombatish says:

        I just want to be able to buy a Sky Roadster whenever I get around to deciding I can afford one.

        And not the shitty Pontiac ripoff.

        Gah.

        • TechnoDestructo says:

          @Wombatish:

          I don’t think you have to worry about settling. Pontiac is getting the axe, too.

          And both the Sky and Solstice were going to be retired soon, regardless (both are and have been unprofitable).

      • TechnoDestructo says:

        @I_am_Awesome:

        GM reliability is not predicted by brand, it is predicted by platform. When GM makes one shitty car, 2/3 of their brands get the same shitty car. Same goes for their good cars.

        The reason Buick has gotten such a good reputation for reliability is that Buick has relied most heavily, more than the other marques, on the proven, reliable, boring (it’s a 3500+ pound FWD platform, of course it’s boring) W-platform. Those that haven’t used it have used at least some of the same engines and transmissions. You might recognize the W platform from other such “my parents had one and that was a great car” GM models as the Impala, Monte Carlo, and Grand Prix.

        All the brand means is different packages of bells and whistles, and different bodywork. If you want to predict which GM models will be good and which will be crap, just forget about brands.

      • HogwartsAlum says:

        @I_am_Awesome:

        I drive a 1993 Buick. It’s not a bad car, considering I drive like Batman. :)

        Someday, however, I hope to have a car that was made in this century. Old cars with original parts shed them faster than I can replace them.

      • PølάrβǽЯ says:

        @I_am_Awesome: I just can’t get past the geriatric stereotype.

    • WBrink says:

      @gardenwzl: Buick exists for a reason ans sells well abroad. Saturn has posted ONE year of profits since its inception. Saturn is awful. It has to go.

    • TechnoDestructo says:

      @WBrink:
      Buick China has almost nothing in common with Buick US (for one thing, there are no Daewoos being sold as Buicks in the US), and its success or failure there has nothing to do with whether it is kept alive in the US.

    • Jesse says:

      @gardenwzl:

      I think GM should have axed Pontiac, made GMC a commercial brand and sold Saturn and Saab.

  3. wardawg says:

    This is one of the reasons North American car companies have been going downhill, they`re trying to diversify too much. Companies like Kia have maybe 10 models of car, how many models does GM make?

    It’s about time GM started doing something about this. Diversification has a negative impact on profitability when you’re mass producing vehicles like this, and some of the savings can be used to plug their hemorrhaging cash flow, the rest can be passed on to the consumers.

    • Saboth says:

      @wardawg:

      I agree with you totally. Jalopnik released the sales numbers for various domestic manufacturers about a month ago that showed the statistics of each brand/model sold. I was amazed to see that GM, when you count all of the brands under it, had close to 100 different car models to choose from. And there were a lot of stinkers in there. It just made me think, if they had focused on making 75% fewer cars, but making them 75% more reliable and cheaper…they wouldn’t be in the mess they are in now.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @wardawg: I would say that GM probably only has about 10 models as well, just they have 5 different BRAND-VERSIONS of each model in which only the chassis and engine are the same. Its just not feasible.

      • LatherRinseRepeat says:

        @Oranges w/ Cheese:

        Exactly. Not only is this a waste of resources, it’s also confusing for the consumer. Choice is good. But too many (redundant) choices can be bad and might scare off consumers.

    • alpinerover says:

      @wardawg: I agree as well. I think that dropping every brand except Cadillac and Chevrolet could be a good option for them. I’ve never really understood why they have GMC, and I don’t think Pontiac is necessary. Buick could always be kept as a brand in China where it’s quite popular.

    • Jim Topoleski says:

      @wardawg: They are not trying to diversify too much, THEY where diverse and never condensed their production.

      People seem to forget that for years the many American brands where IT. There was no Japanese, German, or Korean manufacturers here and when they started out here, they where junk.

      So back then it made a lot of sense to sell 4-5 different versions, because they ALL basically came back to you in money. These days there are somewhere close to 20 different car brands as opposed to 10-11. THATS where the problem came, GM didnt see the coming storm in the late 80s and early 90’s that was Japanese cars. They didnt expect Americans to ever get over their national loyalty and NOT buy American.

      Thats why Saturn died. A few in GM did see the problems coming and started the company to explore how to restructure GM. 7-8 years later, they where all fired and Saturn was brought back into the GM fold after being autonomous (AND making money)

  4. mbz32190 says:

    Why ditch Saturn? If I HAD to buy GM, that’s the only brand I would think of looking at (well except for a Toyota-built Pontiac Vibe). Saturn produced some pretty reliable cars, but they weren’t marketed enough, nor were they really that price competitive when looking at similar entry-level imports.

  5. k6richar says:

    Still driving a ’92 saturn
    431K km on it
    reliable automobiles saturn (used?) to make

    • Vanilla5 says:

      @k6richar: Holy Christmas! Almost a half mill??? You win.

      If some jerk hadn’t t-boned (and subsequently totaled) my ’03 L300 (130ishK miles), I’d still be pushing it – although it did have quite a few problems.

      *moment of silence*

      • Saboth says:

        @Vanilla5:

        Well that is kilometers, so it is 260k miles. My 93 F150 is pushing 220k miles atm.

        • Vanilla5 says:

          @Saboth: Ah, I see. Still not bad.

          I think my dad’s ’96 Jimmy is hovering around 300K miles. Kinda on life support though.

          • gttim says:

            @Vanilla5: Got ya! My 94 Ford Ranger is at 423,000 miles with the original motor. The AC suffered black death, an Ford stupidly put the clutch slave cylinder inside the bell housing, but otherwise it has been bulletproof! It is no longer my primary car, but I can’t get rid of it just yet.

        • Jim Topoleski says:

          @Saboth: Saturn S series have rolled over 500,000 miles. They had a huge event for the first one a few year back when you used to be able to join the 100k club before GM started stripping Saturn of all the stuff that made it cool like homecomings and events.

      • ScarletsWalk says:

        @Vanilla5:

        My Saturn got totaled too and I would have driven it till it died otherwise. It was the best, most reliable car I’ve ever had and it suited my needs perfectly. I’m very disappointed by its closing and don’t know what I’m going to do now when it comes to buying another car. :(

        *moment of silence too*

    • Areia says:

      @k6richar: Our 97 SW2 is coming up on 200,000 miles and still going strong. It’s been shipped (courtesy of the US military and your tax dollars) across the Atlantic twice, seen most of Europe and is currently suffering Chicago winters. Love that car.

    • Fresh-Fest-1986 says:

      @k6richar: Driving a 94 Saturn and it’s still going fine. I have to change the oil a little more then I normally would, but it’s no big deal. My odometer is broke so I’m not even sure how many miles it has on it now. But it stopped on 147,300 and that was about 4 years ago.

      No car payment in these days and times is magic.

      • Jim Topoleski says:

        @Fresh-Fest-1986: I would have your engine pulled and the seals replaced. The pre 97 saturns all had funky seals on them, mine used to leak oil like a sieve before I replaced the valve cover seal myself.

        • RandomZero says:

          @Jim Topoleski: Thanks for the tip. I’m driving a ’95 Saturn with a broken odometer but easily 3-400k km on it, through Nova Scotian winters (ridiculous levels of ice, wet, AND cold). The thing is a tank – it’s survived ridiculous levels of abuse, including being rear-ended while at a dead stop by a car doing 90 km/h. Passengers were fine, the mark on the bumper is so tiny you have to know where it is, and the other car was totalled.

  6. EBounding says:

    Service parts are very profitable for auto companies, so this is not surprising.

  7. Anonymous says:

    As someone who chose Saturn as their first automobile purchase because of the way the consumer is treated by the salesperson (and reliability), I will be very sad if they are closed. The four cars my wife and myself have purchased new have all been Saturns, and I wanted to stay that way.

    If GM does this, my wife and myself have coincidentally chose to go to Volkswagon as our next new car purchase. This was done indepently thinking hard about if this was to happen, and when I asked her what she thought, I was pleased to see we are on the same page.

  8. savdavid says:

    Arrogant GM would never admit they were having troubles for lack of innovation, research and development and their rotten quality. So nice to see them crashing and burning.

    • AskCars says:

      @savdavid: Saturn has the youngest lineup in the industry and very well reviewed models. The failure is in the marketing and sales side as Chevy versions of the same vehicles like the Traverse far exceed the Saturn versions.

    • Pibbs says:

      @savdavid: You’re that guy who walks into Circuit City and let’s everyone know you’re glad they’re going out of business, aren’t you?

  9. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    Good riddance. I just got rid of my Saturn Vue POS- the line that they state: “While this process proceeds, we will continue to do what we have always done best: sell great vehicles and take care of our customers.” Pffft, hardly.

    Their customer service went downhill when the company joined the GM line, as well as their individuality. They aren’t as affordable and gas efficient as other automakers, and their warranty doesn’t hold a flame to others as well. The only part of their warranty that was worth it was it was transferrable- and trust me, the next owner would need it.

    The only part of this that saddens me is the existing, die hard Saturn fans. Unfortunately, many of our domestic brands are a dying breed to foreign.

    • Geoff Gibson says:

      @verucalise:

      They’ve always been a part of GM. Saturn was created by GM… how did their customer service go downhill before they were even created?

      • Jim Topoleski says:

        @Geoff Gibson: errr WRONG.

        Saturn was NOT part of GM originally. They where funded by GM, but everything about them was separate.

        separate platform, engine, management, engineers, UAW contract, plant, dealer contract, you name it.

        Saturn was a experiment by GM to see if their plans to restructure GM to compete with the imports would pan out.

        What happened was a number of things. First the people who supported Saturn inside GM left or where fired. Then after GM turned in a loss for 1993, and Saturn turned in a profit, GM folded them back in under the guise of “experiment failed” to use Saturns profits for GMs purposes.

        Then while claiming Saturn would still retain their autonomy, they stripped and changed all the contracts with the UAW and dealers, took all of Saturns engineers, and eventually took their plant leaving them just “brand name” without any support structure left.

    • ekthesy says:

      @verucalise:

      Thank you! I have been bagging Saturn on multiple boards and for some reason everyone just loves their Saturns…my wife had a 2001 SC1 and it was quite possibly the worst car ever made. I think she would have been more comfortable behind the wheel of a Trabant or some other Eastern Bloc thang. Poor construction, uncomfortable seats, an automatic seatbelt that would strangle you if you were over 5’5″, the accelerating power of a team of very old oxen, way way WAY too much plastic, on and on.

      Finally, someone else who hated their Saturn!

      • Anonymous says:

        @ekthesy: I have just paid off my saturn and will drive it til the wheels fall off which won’t take too long. It has some good qualities but for the most part I hate it. I have a Vue which is classified as a SUV. Horsecrap! It is an overgrown station wagon without extra seating. What can you say when you come from Camarros, Chevelles and Challengers to 4 cylinder plastic toys. I miss carberators and metal!

      • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

        @ekthesy: No problem, you can always count on me for a public Saturn bashing. Or at least a stern talkin’ to!

  10. sockrockinbeats says:

    my first car was a 96 saturn SL1. i bought it with 100K+ miles on it, and put another 100K on it–and it still ran great. i’d probably still be driving it if i hadn’t totalled it. :(

    my current car is a 2001 salturn SL1. i love saturns. *tear*

    • heybtbm says:

      @sockrockinbeats:

      We still have our 2001 SL1 too. It currently has 160,000 + miles. Of course its only function at this point is to drive my wife back and forth to work, but hey…no complaints from us since we bought it.

  11. jaydez says:

    They aren’t still making the parts becasue it’s what they want to do to help the little guy. They are required (by the federal government) to make replacement parts for 10 years after a model has been discontinued. After 10 years the owners are SOL if the junk yard doesn’t have them.

    • nataku8_e30 says:

      @jaydez: Manufacturers generally make most of the parts for a considerably longer time than that… I can still get most of the parts I need for my ’81 and ’84 Honda motorcycles from the dealer, as well as my ’85 BMW and, before I sold it, ’92 Buick. Some of the bigger stuff can be harder to find, but overall parts availability for old cars really isn’t that bad.

      • howie_in_az says:

        @nataku83: Older Bimmers, especially the seemingly ubiquitous E30 3-series, have a plethora of parts and upgrades — much more so, I think, than the previous generation E46 3-series. Do you use Bavarian Auto (bavauto.com)? Combined with a local independent shop (see bimrs.org) you could save a bunch of money versus going to a dealership.

        • nataku8_e30 says:

          @howie_in_az: I actually generally use pelicanparts or bmpdesign, bavauto is ok, i haven’t looked at their stuff much. I don’t actually buy parts at the dealer for any of the equipment I listed, but through resellers who buy from the oem manufacturers

    • segfault, registered cat offender says:

      @jaydez:

      Not true. There is no requirement that they continue to make replacement parts for X years. They do have to warranty the emissions system for a number of years, which by definition, implies that they will continue to make some parts for that period.

    • acarr260 says:

      @jaydez: Talk about misinformation! As segfault said, they aren’t required to make the parts. Other than that obvious false truth, the manufacturers don’t make the vast majority of the service parts either – those are made by OEM or tier-1 parts companies. If the business model exists to continue to make those parts, or there are contractual obligations in place between the supplier and the mfg., the parts will still be made at a very reduced volume (and profitability).

  12. Bryan Zeski says:

    “Today, we confirmed that Saturn and GM would further investigate one of those options: a spin-off of an independent Saturn Distribution Corporation.”

    If Saturn was a part of the company that was making money, why cut it off? If it wasn’t making money, why make it into an independent spin-off?

    • Geoff Gibson says:

      @Bryan Zeski:

      It wasn’t profitable under the almighty umbrella that is GM. You’d be surprised the amount of wiggle room an independent corporation has when they can slim down their supply lines, dealerships, and other bloaty things that come with being part of a huge mega-conglomerate such as GM.

      Not saying SDC will ever be profitable or successful by any means, but it’s not impossible either.

      • Jim Topoleski says:

        @B: try dead. The only way they would be sold is if the Swedes would buy them, and they just said no today so unless independent funder can come in Saab is being killed with Hummer.

        • David Brodbeck says:

          @Jim Topoleski: I think Subaru is in trouble, too. They’re a mid-sized car company — not a massive corporation, and not a revered niche player — which is a bad position to be in right now. They recently pulled out of the WRC racing series, and a friend of mine pointed out that pulling out of racing is almost always a bad sign when it comes to an automaker’s health.

          • mbz32190 says:

            @David Brodbeck: I hope they are. Ugly cars that look dated the minute they leave the lot. Seriously, I don’t remember the last time I saw a Subaru on the road.

            • edwardso says:

              @mbz32190: I grew up in Denver where approximately 1 in 3 cars is a subaru (I made up the figure but it seems about right)

            • Kaessa says:

              @mbz32190: You don’t drive in Colorado much, do you.

              The Outbacks are incredibly popular here… plenty of power in the mountains, they can drive in all kinds of weather, decent gas mileage. They’re perfect for this area (or any area that gets a lot of snow).

            • David Brodbeck says:

              @mbz32190: They’re pretty popular in parts of the snow belt. They’re one of the few options if you need AWD but don’t want to drive a humongous SUV.

    • AskCars says:

      @Bryan Zeski: They’re not making money. By spinning them off the dealers MIGHT not be able to sue GM proper which is the big worry. If it weren’t for the dealers. Saturn would be dead today, Saab would be dead, hummer would be dead. and any stand alone pontiac dealer would be dead.

    • failurate says:

      @Bryan Zeski: Subaru’s sales actually increased in 2008.

  13. lars2112 says:

    Anyone know what will happen to Saab and Hummer?

    • B says:

      @lars2112: Hummer is dead, Saab will be spun off or sold.

    • AskCars says:

      @lars2112: Hummer is still being shopped but most dealers have closed on their own so it won’t cost much for GM to shutter them like it would for Saturn.

      Saab is having major discussions today about being spun off but the Swedish govt won’t give them loans. There have been NO interested buyers. If the Swedes don’t cough it up Saab will be dead.

    • Anonymous says:

      @lars2112: SAAB just declared bankruptcy. Thanks, GM. I drove SAABs for years until GM bought it, downgraded the engineering, raised the price. I switched to Saturn, the closest thing to SAAB I could find. Not that’s gone. So the keep Cadillac and Buick and dump the stuff with engineering beyond 1936.

  14. Plates says:

    Well most of the recent ones are Opels anyway.

    • Jim Topoleski says:

      @Plates: ONE is the Astra. 3 if you count the two Saturns that are sold as Opels but where Saturns first (Vue and GT).

      The Aura shares NOTHING with the similar Opel Vectra. Just design cues. Its actually similar to the G6 which came before it, and the new Malibu which is actually a carbon copy of it with a Chevy body.

  15. BlackMage is doing the Time Warp agaaaaaaain!!! says:

    Yahoo! has an interesting article detailing the restructuring plans of Chysler and GM. The section devoted to Saturn is very revealing.

    [autos.yahoo.com]

    Although I’m calling bullshit on GM’s “hard work” on the brand (it’s well documented GM hasn’t done shit for Saturn), it sounds like Saturn was a victim of its own benefits. I guess there just aren’t enough dealers or enough people who don’t want to haggle. Too bad. Saturn’s new line up looked promising, and they’re one of the few GM companies I would consider for a new car.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @BlackMage is doing the Time Warp agaaaaaaain!!!: It’s more a case-study on how incompetent, jealous execs from a bloated, insular, larger organization can run a more nimble, more customer-focused, higher-quality division into the ground so they don’t seem quite as excruciatingly full of Suck.
      I definitely recall seeing more Hummer ads than Saturn ones, and I watch few commercials.
      Nice to see it worked out so well for them. In spite of the job losses, I’d love to see GM allowed to fail – their execs, at least.

  16. badgeman46 says:

    It is interesting to see the logic and reasoning for brand killing. Oldsmobile was killed off because the people who bought them were in nursing homes or dying, leaving only two models that really sold, the Alero and the SUV which was a blazer twin. GM learned from its mistake with this, which is why Cadillac cars suddenly became sporty and youthful instead of land yachts driven to the Cracker Barrel at 5 in the morning around this time. I suspect GM wants to keep Buick for similar reasons, it is really the only brand it has that would appeal to older/elderly buyers. I do recall a time in the early 90s when EVERYTHING GM sold was an old lady car. Ala lumina, Cutlass. I am upset that GM took John DeLorean’s Pontiac division and let it languish to a fleet of twins. DeLorean is probably rolling in his grave.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Saturn stopped being a ‘different kind of car company’ a long time ago. They’re really just living off of the image of what it was. Now it’s just badge-engineered models that you can always find a chevy or buick version of the same vehicle.

    Saturn was the only GM brand I would ever consider. I owned a 1998 SL2 that was a great little car and we had the Saturn ownership experience up until the car was totaled in 2000 and, in which I still say to this day, the car saved our lives. We went back after the accident to look at getting another car and noticed that the sales staff wasn’t the same helpful people any more and were more like the slime you’d see at any other car dealer so we didn’t buy a Saturn.

    Fast forward to 2002… we wanted a SUV, and we felt the Saturn VUE was a good bet and we bought one regardless of the slimy salespeople. It was good for the first 30,000 miles before the transmission began to fail. They had a recall and revised the warranty to replace the transmission, but with another poorly designed one. It failed before it had 30,000 miles on it and Saturn wouldn’t cover it and insisted on us paying for useless maintenance work (fluid flushes, inspections, etc.) before they’d even consider doing anything. We traded it in and gave up on Saturn. I do have to laugh that there is a class action against Saturn for this very transmission problem.

    RIP Saturn

  18. thebluepill says:

    GM also just Axed their entire “SS” performance department as well.. No more high-performance projects out of GM.. They have lost their minds.

    • acarr260 says:

      @thebluepill: No more new high-performance models will be engineered or produced for a while. Models like the CTS-V and the Camaro SS will still be available, but I think it’s a bad move overall. Those models are what drive a lot of excitement into the brand and hence, people into showrooms.

      • thebluepill says:

        @acarr260:

        As low volume as they are, high performance cars are critical to building brand recognition among enthousiests and the general public.

        It gets people in to the show rooms and often leads to other sales, far above the numbers of the performance model.

        Its a bad move IMO.. Expect to see more of that as things go “green”.

    • David Brodbeck says:

      @thebluepill: I always thought the “SS” badge was kind of a bad idea. Had everyone there forgotten WWII when they came up with it? It was particularly jarring when I recently noticed an Italian car company using it.

  19. DeeKey says:

    When I was buying a used work car I looked at Saturns, and concluded that the horrible “ride” was not worth the mileage or cheap price, seriously, I would rather ride a donkey than go anywhere in a Saturn.

    Ended up buying a Saab. Solid-As-A-Brick, but without the feeling of riding on one.

  20. DanC922 says:

    My local news talked to the owner of the two Saturn dealerships here, and he said that they won’t be going anywhere, and Saturn is already in talks with two or three potential buyers.

    I love Saturn. My family has had 7 Saturns over the past twelve years. We still have 4. Two were sold and one wrecked. They’ve been really reliable and the one I wrecked kept me safe in a bad wreck.

    • Dave J. says:

      @DanC922: My first car was a Saturn, and I loved it, but honestly, what do you expect the local dealer to say? Of course he’s going to say the company will continue–who’s going to buy cars from a guy who tells them the brand won’t exist in 3 years??

  21. scootinger says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if what’s happening to Saturn is the way that the automotive industry is headed in: the marketing/selling/design of cars will be separate from the manufacturing of the vehicles. It’s basically what’s happened to the computer/electronics industries: your Apple/Dell/HP/etc computer is not actually manufactured by those companies. Rather, the company works on designing, marketing, and some of the engineering for their products; then they outsource manufacturing to various contract manufacturers such as ASUSTeK, Quanta, Foxconn, etc.

    Similarly, you would have Saturn most likely doing the design/support/marketing/distribution for the vehicles, but most likely outsourcing manufacturing to other car manufacturers. You already see car manufacturers in similar joint ventures today: there are GM vehicles that are essentially rebranded Suzuki/Toyota vehicles (such as my Pontiac Vibe, aka Toyota Matrix), Ford vehicles that share a platform with Mazda vehicles (Ford Fusion/Mazda6, or Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute), among many other examples.

    • thebluepill says:

      @scootinger:

      I actually see the process of automobile manufacture being 100% automated in the next 25-40 years. To the point of people only being involved in the raw-materials transfer and loading-unloading process.

      Your factory will wind up being staffed with only a few hundred maintanance people and fork truck drivers..

  22. gqcarrick says:

    @scootinger: I agree, Get rid of GMC and keep Chevy, Saturn, Buick and whoever else. Not that I would buy a GM product, except for a Corvette. Saturn does have some nice looking cars though.

  23. ZukeZuke says:

    Typical dumb move by GM to close Saturn and keep their other languishing/redundant divisions. Look how long it took for them to dump Olds. Sheesh.

    And they wonder why they’re having problems. I’d never buy a GM, but I always admired the Saturn brand.

    • TechnoDestructo says:

      @ZukeZuke:

      For what, exactly, did you admire the Saturn brand?

      Personally, I admire them for their remarkable ability to consistently lose money for GM. You have got to admire that sort of dedication.

      Oh, and not to mention the negligible headroom on virtually every model prior to 2000.

      Then there’s the fact that they managed to make small cars with all the handling of cars twice their size, but none of the ride quality. That was great.

      And the priceless sight of dent-resistant Saturn doors that had shattered in cold weather.

      Oh, and let’s not forget the two plateaus of failure one sees in most 1990s Saturns on Carsurvey.org, at around 70k miles and 120k miles.

      Hell, their first 10 years were a decade of shunning success in any form. That’s dedication right there.

      So what do you admire them for now?

  24. runchadrun says:

    “This is an exciting time at the Saturn Brand”

    Yeah, if the thought of your job, brand, and your entire industry collapsing is your definition of excitement.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Saturn is their only attractive line. These CEO’s probably drive Jaguars they’re so out of touch.

    Here’s what to do:
    Drop all the Chevy cars. Make Chevy 100% trucks and SUV’s. Move the Corvette over to Cadillac and keep that going. Close Pontiac and Buick and keep Saturn to develop a new car line.

    It’s that simple.

  26. picardia says:

    @gardenwzl: ITA. I had a Saturn for nine years and it was easily the best car I owned. Of course, I’ve never been in a position to have, like, a Bentley.

    • TechnoDestructo says:

      @EBounding:

      From another forum:

      A friend of mine inspects/breaks parts for Hummer. They’re required to make “3 years” of spare parts, which they are now doing for Hummer. Also, these spare parts are *not* meeting specs.

      I don’t know what specific sub-assemblies he works on, but they’re for the fake Hummers. The H2/H3. His job is to inspect them, and then periodically break a part to see if it breaks correctly. Back in August he was saying since the line was being discontinued, no one gave a crap any more. He’d get a part that didn’t meet spec, his super would say “send it through anyway, it’s a spare part”, he’d mark it bad and send it on its way.

      He’s been laid-off for about a month and a half now. I think he’s going back to work in two weeks.

  27. PLATTWORX says:

    “This is an exciting time at the Saturn Brand”

    Really? What meds is Jill on?

  28. Incognegro a tragic parody of myself says:

    Well maybe now they will bring back the Buick SkyHawk and Skylark.

  29. Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

    Saturn is the only GM brand I’d ever consider buying and the only one I wouldn’t be embarrassed driving. Can’t stand the others, especially Cadillac, ew. (and I live in GM-Land)

  30. argosreality says:

    My first car was a 91 SL1. Absolutely no power what so ever to it but it got amazing gas mileage, was extremely reliable (liked to eat mufflers though…went through two in the time I had it – oil as well) even though I beat the living hell out of it. It also survived an impact with a cow at 35mph (long story!) which sadly totaled it at 195k miles.

    My current cars a 96 SL2 which has been a bit more trouble but considering how poorly it was treated by the previous owner (he used it to tow things…seriously) its running well. I dont want to get rid of her…but she’s not long for this world. Nor is saturn. Sad. GM should have tossed pontiac first, atleast saturn had a soul.

  31. admiral_stabbin says:

    If GM knew what they were doing…they wouldn’t be in the position they are in.

    I live in American car country (Iowa), and, I see more Saturns than Chevys any day of the week.

    I guess GM doesn’t measure success by the # of cars sold.

  32. h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

    I’ll personally be looking forward to Saab going down the drain. My mom owned one, and after that one died she purchased another one used. Both cars ran like crap, were constantly in the shop for some myriad car illness, and felt like driving a tank. I never understood their appeal.

  33. edwardso says:

    I just got rid of my 95 SL2 last year and put less than $700 into in during the 5 years I owned it. I stupidly bought a ford focus and miss my saturn all the time

  34. Nytmare says:

    @Kirk Douglas: The Buick market in China is significantly different from the US, they might as well be a separate division. Axe US Buick, keep China Buick.

  35. Jim Topoleski says:

    @Rabbi Dave: Right they sold more in Jan than Saturn who was on deaths door since Nov. That makes sense!

    But I dont dissagree with you in the fact that yse becuse a couple of years ago GM made Buick Pontiac GMC dealers consolidate their shops together, it makes it a LOT harder to get rid of Buick.

    But that being said,Pontiac, Buick and GMC are dogs from a financial standpoint.

    Its a slew of excessive backend for

    1) a company whos best selling products are a American/Japanese shared platform, a rebadged Chevy Cobalt, and a car thats been replaced by the Aura/Malibu and whose coupe version was one of the 10 LEAST sold cars in America last month.

    2) a company that barely sold 50 cars per dealer

    3) a company that for all purposes is rebadged Chevy and Chevy commercial vehicles. The few that are not are easily transferable.

  36. kwsventures says:

    Don’t worry Obama will be giving out taxpayer funded car parts from behind the White House very soon.

    • Snarkysnake says:

      @kwsventures:

      Very immature. The guy has been on the job less than a month , was dealt a shitty hand and this kind of sniping from the cheap seats is supposed to make us all feel…Better ?

      I didn’t vote for the guy,but he’s my president (and yours too,like it or not). I want him to succeed, and I want to see a rebirth of respectful diasgreement with the party in power.At least give him SOME time to either succeed or fail on his own merits.

      As for Saturn,I guess it’s too bad that you can’t pick your parents.They were the only GM brand that I would even consider,but I guess that a quality car sold by caring dealers didn’t fit into GM’s long range plans.

  37. jmndos says:

    4 brands that GM should KEEEEEEP are Cadillac, Chevy, (Buick|Saab), Saturn

    Cadillac is the luxury line
    Chevy is the regular line.
    Buick or Saab, but not both…to be the off brand semi-lux line merging models from cadillac and chevy.
    Saturn, the cheap/efficient line

    Dump the rest…
    Also, if you keep saab….i mean come on…. the pricing is a joke…right…

  38. Anonymous says:

    I can’t believe that they are cutting Saturn from the problem line up. I drive a 1997 Saturn that has had no major problems, gets great fuel mileage and still looks wonderful after a wreck. This is a very bad decision on the part of GM. In this day and age consumers are looking for products that are long lasting, fuel efficient and above all cost effective. GM should downsize the huge trucks and SUV’s, people don’t need them anyways!

  39. Anonymous says:

    Think back to the 1980’s. Instead of focusing on it’s brands, GM tried to invent a new way of buying cars and di that through the Saturn brand. If the never bothered with Saturn, tyhey probably would be better off today. All the hype and smoke and mirrors about Saturn, it was and is nothing more than a rebadged GM product. They should have focused on their core brands and existing dealer body. Instead they cannibalized themselves. Good luck spinning off Saturn GM, who wants it?

  40. WBrink says:

    @TechnoDestructo: GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON

  41. taylorich says:

    I feel sorry for the owners of the brands that are headed for the sunset. I had an Oldsmobile Intrigue that dropped in resale value 50% the day they shuttered Oldsmobile.

  42. newage44 says:

    GM is led by tired and burnt out top managers. They have Robert Lutz as Vice Chairman in charge of Product Development which is like putting Rosie O’Donnell in charge of Juicy Couture. This once well liked and talented exec is now almost 70 and looks like he’s 80. On TV, in the proposed Volt, he looked like he needed handicapped assisted entry to get in and out of the car.

    Give it up , Bob, and all those like you at the other 2 companies. Time really has passed you by and it’s time for the young turks to take over..way passed time.

  43. newage44 says:

    Saab is too important for Sweden to let it go. Watch for a political solution to that mess forthcoming as GM divests.

    Hummer will always be made as long as there are wars. Beyond that, it is an irrelevant car now and dealerships are closing and folding into Chevy franchises, GMC dealerships and other GM signs as it fizzles out.

  44. globalman says:

    I bought my oldsmobile alero in 2000, about a week before they announced they were ceasing production of olds. Don’t be like me and live with regret! You might be able to get saturn parts, but you’ll pay through the teeth to get them. Plus, those parts you’ll get after 2011 won’t be machined to the same standards, so luck be with you!

  45. Mike S. says:

    As an owner of a Saturn (my third), I’ll miss the company very much but I’m going to keep my last Saturn (a 2007 ION 3 with the rarely ordered 2.4 engine) for as long as possible. I’m sure I can still get parts and service for some time, thanks to GM’s parts sharing. But my dealer has been great to me through all the Saturns I have owned, and I have loved all three cars.
    Call me among the last of the hard-core Saturn fans. I’ll worry about my next car when the time comes.

  46. Walter Grace says:

    Saturn was the most well thought out and the most poorly marketed auto firm in recent memory. GM shot their foot off when they tried to pass Opel’s for Saturns, not to mention jacking the prices to nearly $30,000. This is in a time when few have the credit or employement to purchase a motorcycle, let alone such an expensive piece of junk.

  47. Anonymous says:

    I love Saturn. My 93 SL2 is still going strong. (Sure it’s a bit bumpy compared to the Buik Park Ave. my dad passed on to me, but as fun to drive as a go-cart). The new Opel Odyssey was to be the next Saturn Aura. RAVE reviews in the European press (which IS NOT a given over there.)
    Sad, sad day. I hope that if Opel gets spun off Saturn makes their arrangements with them. Saab is talking the same thing according to Der Spiegel today.