I don’t think it was anything on the GM side that caused the deal to go sour. They put a lot of effort into making the deal happen even though it meant they might be essentially creating another competitor long term.
From what I heard on the radio on the way in this morning, it sounds like Penske had difficulty finding a manufacturer to produce/develop vehicles after the contract for GM to make them runs out.
I admit I don’t understand economics – not that recent events indicate anyone else does, either – but I’ve never understood selling off damaged assets in a panic-driven economic period is supposed to work. If “loss of confidence” is the killer of large enterprises, are we supposed to be buoyed up by the thought that some third party that’s never made Saturns is accepting the risk that Saturn’s creators don’t wish to endure any longer?
Won’t it necessarily be more expensive to capitalize or retool new manufacturing assembly lines for Saturns? The old ones, whose costs were at least partly amortized, can’t make cost-effective Saturns, so we’re going to invest in more expensive new plants to sell more expensive Saturns in a depressed economy where consumers are unwilling to spend more?
I own a Saturn, a 1993 one that’s still motoring along, but I’ve considered the Saturn concept dead since GM reabsorbed the supposedly-independent Saturn pretty much solely for the purpose of creating more management positions at GM, not for the good of either company.
It started out as a separate company so it should have the engineering/management infrastructure to function independently. They would be buying engines/transmissions on the open market like everybody else does now so I don’t see a need for an automotive island unto itself. I’ve got a 2000 SL1 that has been trouble free and I still see a lot of them on the road.
Can you expound on the “re-absorption” aspect. I wasn’t aware it got General Marginalized.
Long ago Saturn lost its status as a separate company within a company. The majority of its models are rebadged versions of other GM cars, mostly Opels. Their manufacturing was integrated into the rest of GM proper, and the UAW contract was significantly watered down from the original one. It was no longer a separate company in any real manner.
OTOH, I suspect that the Penske negotiations was planned by GM to be doomed from the start. It’s a CYA plan: “Honestly, we didn’t mess up and destroy a division, it was those other people. Can we get more bonuses now?”
I raised the question before: the Saturn ASTRA is an Opel built car, ade in the Opel factory in Belgium. The company that is buying Opel is now trying to close all of the Opel plants outside Germany (tey made a deal with the German government). Does this mean the Astra owner is screwed? Gettig parts may become a huge problem, and resale value will drop like a rock.
I am pretty sad, because I have always owned Saturns-they were very good cars for me (never had a problem with them).
After looking around the net it looks like Saturn actualy died in 2002.
Crazyjoe’s comparison to Oldsmobile rings true now that I look back. Their commercials of late were rip offs of the “not your father’s Oldsmobile” campaign.
I would have bought another Saturn had they kept them around. I liked the dent resistant space frame design, engines with timing chains, transmissions that could be towed. In 130,000 miles I’ve only had to replace a fuse and a light bulb.