Saturn: Rearranging the Deck Chairs on the Titanic

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
saturn rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic

Given that GM terminated the HUMMER brand not long after its dealers spent millions constructing Quonset hut-style shoppertainment centers, a Saturn showroom makeover may not be welcome news for fans of the ailing "import fighter." But there it is, via The Detroit News' John McCormick. Needless to say, Motown's Big Mac is down with the design re-think. Which, upon careful reading, is no biggie (unless you're looking for an excuse for a junket to Connecticut). "All this research has translated into careful adjustments to the way a Saturn showroom is laid out; how chairs and desks are positioned, how computer monitors are presented, how accessories are presented and so on. For example, the sales desks have no drawers, two chairs on both sides and a computer monitor that is angled so the customer can see it easily. Shoppers are encouraged to surf the internet for competitive deals right in front of the sales person… Overall, the showroom design puts more emphasis on people than cars, which are arrayed to the outside, leaving the center area for seating and displays." Meanwhile… Despite Saturn's latest ad campaign and refreshed Euro-style product line-up, Roger Smith's baby racked-up just 17,603 sales in July. That's down 13.6 percent for the month, -17.9 percent for the year.

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  • Ed2222 Ed2222 on Aug 06, 2008

    GM didn't put anything upscale in the Saturn showrooms, but me thinks the plan might have been for Saturn buyers to move up to Oldsmobile as a next step. Check out the 90's Cutlass, it is the spitting image of the smaller Saturns. And I probably could try to make the case the Aurora's styling was a sporty version of the same theme, and the same for the Alero. Not a very bright idea, as the point was Saturn buyers would never touch a GM car, but they tried it, and looks like that plan doomed both brands. edit: I searched around cause I thought I had read of the Olds-Saturn thing, and saw this article: and pretty much, it says thats what John Rock was doing with Olds. P.S.- I currently have a 2000 SL1 for a driver. Its a great car, burns a little oil, but its a perfect commuter. I have a friend that picked up one of the last new Ions for about 13k new. At that price, it was a great car, and I was considering trying to get one myself. I have a lot of friends who swear by their old Saturns, too bad they don't have any plastic fenders in their showrooms anymore that would bring these people in to at least look when they need a replacement.

  • Npbheights Npbheights on Aug 07, 2008

    I find it interesting that Saturn started out with simple, logical alpha numeric names like SL1, SW2 and then slowly discarded them for silly names like Ion (is it an air purifier?) at the same time Cadillac was discarding its storied nameplates like Eldorado (a City of Gold) for ETC (did they really think etcetera was cool emblem on a caddy? and Deville (Of the Town) for DTS (what's that silly nonsense) but they keep Escalade which means "the act of scaling a fortified wall or rampart". Is that supposed to give you an idea of the gracefulness of the act of entering your new Cadillac SUV? Keep up the good work GM.

  • Joe_thousandaire Joe_thousandaire on Aug 07, 2008

    GM needs to consolidate their Hummer and Saturn dealerships, and then set them on fire for the insurance money.

  • INeon INeon on Aug 07, 2008

    Do people really not know that the DTS is a DeVille and that the ETC was an Eldorado?