By on January 25, 2009

How reassuring. Not to taxpayers, obviously. We’re supporting this dead brand with $13.4b of our tax money– if you don’t include GM’s share of the Department of Energy’s $25b retooling loans (remember those?). Still, Saturn dealers must have been pleased as punch to hear The General claim– at The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) conference in N’orlins– that it will continue to build models for Re-Thinkers through 2012. Why “in some cases,” they’ll keep creating Saturnalia until 2013! After the meeting, GM Marketing Maven Mark LaNeve told Automotive News [sub] “We have all the current products funded. What we told them was the biggest issue is slimming down our product cadence. We don’t have enough finances to fund all these brands.” What new product cadence would that be? “I’m talking about vehicles with a fluid, uniform design theme, top-notch engines, dynamic chassis philosophy and a focus on detailed interior and exterior execution.” GM Car Czar Maximum Bob Lutz, “Product Will Reign,” 2005. Two years later, via Edmunds, “If this lineup doesn’t work, I’m out of ideas.”

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23 Comments on “GM: “We Won’t Kill Saturn in the Next 30 Days”...”


  • avatar
    Cicero

    While he’s saving moribund brands, Wagoner should reconsider buying Chrysler. GM’s problem is it doesn’t own enough nameplates.

  • avatar
    dejalma

    ”I’m talking about vehicles with a fluid, uniform design theme, top-notch engines, dynamic chassis philosophy and a focus on detailed interior and exterior execution.”

    So, what were you doing up to the recent past?

    I know, that’s a bit harsh.

  • avatar
    obbop

    As with every product I see/hear told of or advertised as; New!!!! Improved!!! The Best Yet!!!

    So….. all the prior models, makes, labels, whatever were sub-par, huh?

    Guess I should just hold odd purchasing until the next bout/round of New!!! Improved!!! etc.

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    Borrowing from Ranganathan I could say that for every Saturn there is a buyer. The problem is that those buyers either already own a next to new Saturn or don’t qualify for the financing to buy a new one.

    A shame really. The legacy of the employee pricing for everyone campaigns that pulled so many purchases forward that there isn’t anyone left for another couple of years.

    A different kind of car. A different kind of car company.

    Also a legacy of an economy built on selling things to the next guy for more than they were worth.

    Sad.

    Maybe Saturn should try selling their cars in Albania.
    http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2000/03/jarvis.htm

  • avatar

    Is Wagoner living in today’s world. If his recent comments are anything to go by, this guy has no ability to grasp the nettle. It’s rather like giving a guy a thousand bucks to go on a slimming course and finding he is buying ‘better food’ at the super market.

    One would have faith in Wagoner if he said something like

    “It is obvious that we need to concentrate our brands, Saturn has lost the message that made it so successful, we do not have the luxury to spend time and money trying to recreate this message with a new marketing campaign and new models that will excite the public. Instead we are going to discontinue the brand as soon as feasibly possible and concentrate on models and brands that have a brand loyalty and future that can sustain profitability”

  • avatar
    CarPerson

    The level of dishonesty coming out of General Motors is breathtaking.

    Never have so many been so far from the truth for such a long length of time with so little intention of being honest with the tax-paying public, car buying public, or the government.

  • avatar
    michaelC

    @Austin Greene

    Kudos.

    Where else but the civil environs of TTAC might Ranganathan be quoted (well, snow cloned ) in the context of auto branding strategy? Unfortunately, it seems part of GM’s strategic failure in branding has been to try to follow another of Ranganathan’s laws: For every person there is a Saturn…. For every person there is a Chevy, etc.

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    In the dictionary, next to the word “obtuse” you’ll see the words “General Motors.” Does anyone else think that maybe GM is trying to kill itself on purpose? Is there some reasoning known only to the Illuminati or to the Grand Knights of the Worldwide International Roundtable of Bankers (a distant criminal cousin of the Legion of Doom)? I got nothin.

  • avatar
    NickR

    “product cadence”? Who the ***k though that up? Seriously.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    “We don’t have enough finances to fund all these brands.”

    And what was your first clue?

    It is enough to make a grown man cry.

  • avatar
    50merc

    “We won’t kill Saturn in the next 30 days.”

    Dang. Had my hopes up.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Everyday these bozos have jobs amazes me. People all over the country are getting shown the door and these creeps are still running GM?

  • avatar
    AlphaWolf

    Why not kill Pontiac, Buick, GMC, and Saturn in within the next 12 months and blame the government. Say they made you do it. That cannot be any worse then just riding the titanic to the bottom of the ocean.

    What is the down side, I mean Chevrolet and Cadillac could absorb some of the models and GM would be much stronger.

    Throw in a 4yr/50k bumper to bumper warranty on Chevys and start stealing market share from a weak Chrysler, Suzuki, Mitsu etc.

  • avatar

    Just discontinue them all and focus on Chevrolet and Cadillac, it’s what should have been done over a decade ago… but wasn’t.

    Also, to build consumer confidence and goodwill they should follow the Korean example. Offer a knockout 10 year/100,000 mile warranty on all products.

    If GM was just Chevrolet and Cadillac how expensive could that warranty be? Surely nowhere near what it costs to waste money on numerous dead brands.

  • avatar
    tate

    It is truly baffling for me, to understand the logic behind Wagoner’s decision. Hasn’t he understood that badge engineering is not going to work in today’s market? why doesn’t he streamline the company (only keep Chevy & Caddy) and get rid of the excess flab (sell brands like Saturn and Buick)? Sell them to the Chinese and Indian car companies and use that money for something beneficial.
    There are so many car companies who would love to get their hands on a brand that has recognition.
    Anyways i hope people who were favoring the bailout realize that we put our money down a bottomless pit and will keep doing so for eternity unless drastic decisions are made. Ford take a bow.

  • avatar
    jerry weber

    In this blog site I have seen a consensus for the last year at least, of GM’s only way out. Skinny down to Cadillac Chevy and try to keep all of these two brands fresh and innovative plus well advertised. With the malibu and caddy cts,GM has shown they can build competitive stuff. They just can’t do it for 40-50 models across the board. This was a given 50 years ago when with half of the US market GM could do exactly that. Each of the five independent divisions made sure their cars were sharp, niche defined, different and oh yes promoted. GM will never do that again, and to carry on seven lines of cars and trucks with 20% market share. is the very reason they are on the ropes.

  • avatar
    threeer

    So maybe I can pick up an Astra on the cheap soon enough (I’m an old Opel fan from growing up in Germany…heck, with family still there, I could order cool “Blitz” emblems and replace the goofy Saturn ones with Opel badges…)

    With Chrylser and Ford already announcing employee pricing plus $6k off, GM will soon have to follow suit to clear the lots! For the record, a good friend of mine bought a “new” 2007 Corvette last week. Never titled. It sat on the lot for nearly two years!

  • avatar
    Rusty Brinkley

    I’d like to look at this from a nostalgia point-of-view for a moment. I first visited a Saturn store in Texas to look at a SL2 sedan. Loved the car after the test drive. I also loved how I was not pressured to buy the car at the end of the visit! GM did the right thing to not cast its corporate shadow over that brand for a long time. Unfortunately, things have changed.

    I agree with the rest of the comments on this topic…GM needs to go on the diet of a lifetime. It’s almost criminal what the leaders of the Big 2.8 have done with their product lines.

  • avatar
    realpower1

    The 2-brand opinions here are DEAD ON! At this point this entire company of GM is about to become irrelevant if they cannot get focused with their limited resources. The bailout is an embarrassment to our country, our system, and our way of life. We have become France circa 1970.

    #1 Reality: The entirety of GM is at best a 2-brand company with 4 models that hold any value in the marketplace. Chevrolet trucks including Silvarado, Tahoe, suburban, all the same damn thing. Corvette, Malibu, and the Cadillac CTS.

    Save Buick if you want too but FOCUS ALL RESOURCES INTO MAKING THESE BRANDS COMPETITIVE ON A WORLDWIDE BASIS.

    It is this simple. And when everyone stops whining about the UAW, dealer groups, and the Volt then perhaps this organization can be saved. Right not I am not optimistic anyone at GM or congress has any situational awareness.

  • avatar
    akear

    I have a friend who is working at a saturn dealer. He says they are selling about 2 cars a week. However, slow sales have allowed him to study for his A+ certification exam at the dealership. He passed the exam and hopefully can leave the dealership and start a career in computer repair and networking. There is also a college kid there who has become a tetris expert. When he gets bored of playing tetris he gets up and walks aimlessly around the sea of unsold cars.
    Can internet porn be far away? How else do you spend 8 hours.

  • avatar
    Raskolnikov

    It’s a shame for the Astra. GM finally listens to reason and brings over a great little car from Europe…only they don’t market it AT ALL and then kill off the entire brand.

  • avatar
    aggrazel

    The american automobile industry will continue to fail as long as morons like this guy are running them.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Of the 4 main core reasons for Saturns existance: no haggle pricing, superior no pressure sales environment, plastic panals and a totally different approach to making cars only the no pressure sale experience has remained. The plastic panals are out, no haggle pricing is long gone and most of Saturns lineup has turned into rebadged Chevys or other GM products along with all the baggage that goes with them. The writing is on the wall for Saturn. With such a small dealer network and a reputation for small cheap noisy cars with wide panal gaps, Saturn is never going to reach sales goals with a badge engineered lineup. Eliminating Saturn and Hummer will give the Genral much needed resources for ailing brands such as Buick and Pontiac.

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