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Saturn, founded by General Motors Corporation on There was an error working with the wiki: Code[21], There was an error working with the wiki: Code[22] as a wholly-owned There was an error working with the wiki: Code[23], is a There was an error working with the wiki: Code[24] of Automobiles marketed in the United States and There was an error working with the wiki: Code[25]. GM began manufacturing Saturn automobiles in 1990, largely in response to the success of There was an error working with the wiki: Code[26]ese small-car imports in the United States.

Its motto was "A different kind of company, a different kind of car". Not only would it copy Japanese car style, it would try to copy Japanese management style: workers would have more control and involvement in the plant, the There was an error working with the wiki: Code[27] agreed to lay off the Saturn division, and in general things were 'done differently' than they had been at GM, drawing from experiences gained through its There was an error working with the wiki: Code[28] and There was an error working with the wiki: Code[29] joint ventures.

Saturn values were communicated through finely crafted image advertising created by a leading ad agency of the times, There was an error working with the wiki: Code[30]. Saturn's narrow focus on a high quality small car and graceful customer service found a perfect match in Riney's folksy signature style.

Saturn carefully developed an organization culture which it passed along to its independent network of retail franchisees. Saturn employees spoke a carefully selected language meant to separate the "new world" from the "old world." This new world was steeped in the best customer service practices learned from travel and hospitality as well as consumer retail industries, not necessarily the traditional car business. If you owned a Saturn franchise, you were a "Retailer," not a dealer. And you planned how to serve a non-competing geographic area, "Market Area," with "Retail Facilities," not dealerships. Saturn inspired a cult following with annual 'meetings' in Tennessee of Saturn owners, as well a day-to-day special events in retail settings. However, the division never made a profit and by the 2000s was a several billion dollar loss for General Motors, which due to its massive financial problems closed the 'experiment' and folded Saturn back into its traditional corporate landscape.

General Motors even choose west-coast Saturn retailers to sell and service the short-lived and highly politicized electric car, the EV1, in the mid 1990's. A history of the EV1 can be seen the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car?.

Saturn's headquarters, retail employee training facility and There was an error working with the wiki: Code[5] were originally located in There was an error working with the wiki: Code[6], There was an error working with the wiki: Code[31]. The facility was chosen in 1985, after a highly publicized nationwide search for a site the impact of bringing a major industrial development to a rural American community was the subject of architectural historian Joe Sherman's book, "In the Rings of Saturn." Since the 2000s, Saturn has been gradually losing its autonomy, as new models, for example, do not utilize polymer side panels and are derivatives of other GM models. Production has since been moved to other GM plants. Initially, the Saturn Corporation was headed by a president who consulted with a Union local counterpart and reported to the GM Board of Directors. As the role of Saturn changed within General Motors, the chief executive role was shifted to be a Vice President of Sales, Service and Marketing. Since 2005, There was an error working with the wiki: Code[32], previously a VP of SSM, has been the General Manager of Saturn, who reports to the Vice President of the GM Small Car Group.

Saturn is known for its company-wide "no-haggle" sales policy. Saturn dealers (called "retailers" by the company) are encouraged to sell vehicles at There was an error working with the wiki: Code[7]. Customer satisfaction with dealer service is among the highest of any car brand in the U.S. The company also won praise for its environmentally-conscious manufacturing processes and for its innovations such as using flexible plastic side panels on its cars to avoid minor dents. However, in 2005, the There was an error working with the wiki: Code[33] became the first Saturn vehicle without polymer side paneling.

GM leads all other automakers in Strategic Vision's 2006 Total Quality Index (TQI) Strategic Vision (2006) Total Quality Index MSN Autos, with the Saturn VUE taking top honors for the Small SUV category.

History

When it was launched, Saturn (named after the There was an error working with the wiki: Code[8] that took American There was an error working with the wiki: Code[9]) was a significant departure for GM. The company's products used a dedicated platform (the There was an error working with the wiki: Code[10]), a dedicated engine (the 1.9&nbspL There was an error working with the wiki: Code[34]), and were made at a dedicated plant (in Spring Hill). In fact, the company's three car models (SL, SC, and SW) were all just a single car in three different body styles, and the company referred to all three as Saturns. All of the original Saturns featured dent-resistant plastic body panels which were also touted as allowing the company to change the look of the vehicles at will. However, in practice, the company kept the vehicles mostly unchanged for years.

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The first real change came with the There was an error working with the wiki: Code[35] There was an error working with the wiki: Code[36] There was an error working with the wiki: Code[37]. It shared the There was an error working with the wiki: Code[38] with the There was an error working with the wiki: Code[39], along with its engine, and was built at a GM factory in There was an error working with the wiki: Code[40]. The There was an error working with the wiki: Code[41] is now being produced in the Wilmington facility along with its essentially-identical siblings, the There was an error working with the wiki: Code[42] and There was an error working with the wiki: Code[43].

Today, the company shares GM's There was an error working with the wiki: Code[11] and There was an error working with the wiki: Code[12] There was an error working with the wiki: Code[13] engine, and vehicles are built at many GM plants along with the Spring Hill factory. The Saturn VUE even uses a There was an error working with the wiki: Code[44] engine, and the plastic body panels will be discontinued on most future vehicles.

In recent years, Saturn has been criticized for not keeping pace with the rest of the automotive industry. Sales have been declining, and the ION production lines were halted for two weeks in 2003 to allow dealer inventory to reduce. The L-Series was canceled after production of the 2005 models.

Since Saturn never made a profit, GM decided to take back control of the division, eliminating its independence from the corporate behemoth.

Future

Saturn is currently in transition. General Motors has given Saturn a wealth of new products including the There was an error working with the wiki: Code[14] roadster, There was an error working with the wiki: Code[15] sedan, There was an error working with the wiki: Code[16] hatchback, and There was an error working with the wiki: Code[17] large There was an error working with the wiki: Code[18] There was an error working with the wiki: Code[19] as the entry-level car, and the There was an error working with the wiki: Code[45] is similar to the There was an error working with the wiki: Code[46].

The Saturn brand will be repositioned in the upper-end of the family car market, stopping just south of entry-level luxury roughly where There was an error working with the wiki: Code[20]). Saturn faces a struggle in achieving a premium image. When GM showed the Aura to a focus group with no badge on it, participants gave it a rating of 5/5 in terms of desirability and style. When they discovered that they were looking at a Saturn, the average rating dropped to 2.5/5.There was an error working with the wiki: Code[1]

The company's independent manufacturing operations are in doubt, however. GM has begun moving Saturn production away from Spring Hill, and announced that that plant would be integrated with the company's regular plant mix, producing products for all GM brands. It is currently being retooled for larger cars, and the shop to produce Saturn's iconic plastic body panels is being dismantled as the company moves to conventional steel panels. Besides the obvious cost and assembly benefits to using industry-standard steel panels, Saturn's trademark polymer skins require larger gaps in between body panels to allow for heat expansion. The lack of understanding by automotive critics has led to past Saturns being periodically criticized for poor assembly quality, something that is true among sheet metal-clad cars with larger gaps.

The company offers two sub-lines of vehicles: "Red Line" Saturns are performance-oriented, while "Green Line" cars will be more environmentally friendly. The VUE and ION Red Line models, launched in There was an error working with the wiki: Code[47], will be joined by a Green Line VUE and Aura and Red Line Aura and Sky in There was an error working with the wiki: Code[48].

Customer service

Saturn is relatively well known for their commitment to customer service. When General Motors launched the division, their goal was to make Saturn showrooms friendly for first time car buyers, and car buyers in general. They are noted for their no-haggle pricing, where the cars are sold at their exact sticker price, their no-pressure sales environments, and professional sales staff. A recent survey ranked Saturn as one of the highest ranked companies by customer satisfaction. According to the same survey, Saturn was the only economy car maker in the top five, and the rest of the top five consisted of luxury car makers.

Saturn models

Current

Saturn VUE (2002-present)

There was an error working with the wiki: Code[49] (2007-present)

There was an error working with the wiki: Code[50] (2007-present)

There was an error working with the wiki: Code[51] (2007-present)

There was an error working with the wiki: Code[52] (2008-)

Past

There was an error working with the wiki: Code[53] (1991-2002)

There was an error working with the wiki: Code[54] (1999-2005)

There was an error working with the wiki: Code[55] (2003-2007)

There was an error working with the wiki: Code[56] (2005-2007)

Saturn timeline

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References

External links

Saturn official website

Saturn official Canadian website

SaturnFans website

Saturn Motorsports website

Turbo Saturns

Cheers and Gears - Information on Current and Future Saturn vehicles

End of innovative UAW contract

Different Racing Saturn Dragster and S-Series Technical Information website

Saturn hacking, modification and reverse engineering site

Saturn Television Commercials

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