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No More Saturn

I just read a story printed in the Wall Street Journal and Reuters that says Penske pulled out of the Saturn deal. Penske’s purchase was contingent on being able to get cars in they future from Renault and Samsung, but the Renault board declined the invitation.



It’s a sad day for the Saturn dealers. All the manufacturing has been done at other GM plants since Spring Hill, TN shut down a few years ago, so manufacturing plants will may build more Chevy and Opel vehicles. Assuming that prospective Saturn customers would buy the equivalent vehicle, of course.



On a brighter note, you and I might find a deal or two on leftover Saturns. Except for the Astra, they are basically Chevys.

Since they are chevys, does that mean that Saturn owners won’t have to worry about the availability of parts to repair their cars in the future?

I’m guessing not. You can get your Saturn repaired at any GM dealer.

Who needs a middle man anyway. We can buy our own inferior cars. We can also buy cheaper ones from real companies. Just pretend that Saturn changed its name to Hyundai and improved the product 100%.

I’ll miss Saturn as much as I’ll miss Uranus.

Twotone

There is certain to be a big shelf-space battle as all these former Jeep and Saturn dealerships look for new brands to sell…

I wonder how long it will be before we hear about automobile import quotas…

“There is certain to be a big shelf-space battle as all these former Jeep and Saturn dealerships look for new brands to sell…”

I disagree. Ford, GM and Chrysler have been shutting down dealers. Most, if not all, of the remaining car companies have enough dealerships to distribute their products.

More likely there’ll be countless vacant commercial lots on the market. That should do wonders for the value of commercial properties. Vacancy rates are already too high.

Time to revisit some of Ross Perot’s old stump speeches…Globalization and “Free Trade” are going to destroy us while a handful of very powerful people get very rich…Our entire country will wind up looking like Detroit.

I say good riddance to Saturn. When they first came out in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Saturns were something different. Eventually, they became just another GM brand. I feel bad for the folks losing their jobs, but other than that, I am glad to see survival of the fittest happening in the economy. Economic Darwinism should be allowed to happen, whether it is a car maker or a bank.

I read a few years ago that the folks at Chevrolet wondered how many great cars they could have developed with the billions of dollars GM flushed down the Saturn toilet. It was typical GM, don’t fix what you got, come up with something new. What a waste.

I think the Astra is basically a Vauxhall or Opel, not a Chevy.

Jack is correct.

The Astra is an Opel.
The Aura is a Chevy Malibu.
The Outlook is a Chevy Traverse/Buick Enclave/GMC Acadia.
The Sky is a Pontiac Solstice. (Hmmm…this model is definitely gone!)
And, I think that the Vue is some kind of Opel also.

So, anyone who wants a Saturn will be able to find a comparable version in other GM showrooms, but that might entail going to Europe in some cases.

“I think the Astra is basically a Vauxhall or Opel, not a Chevy.”

I agree; at least it isn’t a Chevy yet. If the comment was addressed at the original post, I did not identify Astra’s home, but I did exclude it from the me-too Chevrolet line-up. It’s definitely an Opel. Vauxhall is the British arm of Opel.

The Astra was one of Saturn’s better cars. It is designed in Germany by Opel and built in their Antwerp, Belgium, plant. There is also a Vauxall, version sold in the UK and export markets. It rated well in handling tests ,since it has a German pedigree.

Frank Stronach will take over Opel shortly and you can expect the Astra to remain in production, but maybe only in Germany, since they also have severe excess capacity.

GM took Saturn completely away from the orginal concept for the brand. It was supposed to be different. Saturn cars were made in a unique factory and sold with a different pricing policy. Then they simply left the concept and started making the same ole GM cars at different plants and put Saturn names on them.

That didn’t work for Oldsmobile and GM just did it again with Saturn with the same results. Too many copy cat car, and SUV’s with a different GM brand that didn’t fool anyone.

I think Penske could use the funds they have and start a new brand altogether and be more successful. What made the Saturn company worth anything was the dealer network was already in place, not the Saturn name nor the cars sold under the Saturn name have much value on their own.

If a savey foreign brand not now in the US can get some of its cars US certified for safety and pollution standards quickly there is a great dealer network out there looking for a decent line of cars to sell. This is a prime opportunity for a Chinese or Indian car company. The dealers need to band together and sell themselves as a network and forget about any connection to the old GM. They have lots, buildings, employees, and knowledge of American buyers. All they need are some cars to sell.

I wonder if Opel wants to export to the Western Hemisphere? They don’t now because GM doesn’t allow it. But GM only owns about 35% of the new company. The majority owners could start marketing them here, and use the Saturn dealers to sell and service them. The dealers have some experience with certain models already, like the Astra and Vue.

Stronach, Magna’s chairman, and now Opel chairman, has definite plans to have a personal hand in selling complete cars in Canada. Those would be Opel-based cars with maybe a Magna label on them. He will be doing the same thing in Russia, another cold country. Magna cars will be massaged in specs and equipment to be good basic value for money.

GM will not see this as direct competition. The cars will likely still be made in Western Europe, and the Russian ones in Russia.