The news on this morning’s doorstep is that, all of a sudden, Saturn is the poster child for just about everything that’s gone wrong with General Motors.
Reason is, Saturn apparently was the one thing General Motors got right in the last 20 years … and somehow managed to get it wrong anyway.
Way back in 1990, Saturn created such excitement, and the truth is it didn’t take much. The cars were affordable and reasonably well-built. Some liked the designs, although others felt the cars were unexciting.
What made the difference was the shopping experience, and the radical idea that you shouldn’t have to dicker for a decent set of wheels. The price was the price.
So radical was this very simple and obvious idea that it was a key reason Saturn earned real-deal cult status among its customers. There was a time when Saturn drivers would honk and wave at each other (oh, we happy few) and drive all the way to Tennessee for so-called annual “Homecoming” parties.
In 1994, some 44,000 Saturn owners showed up at one of these parties! It was all downhill from there, though, and Saturn stopped hosting the events in 2004. And now General Motors intends to either kill Saturn or sell it, perhaps to China.
I have a better idea: Re-badge Saturn as “Uranus,” with the slogan, “You Bet Uranus.” The marketing possibilities are as endless as GM’s stupidity.