The company that General Motors launched to stem the import invasion has now disappeared. What a letdown from the high hopes given to it by GM, which built a new plant exclusively for Saturn in Spring Hill, Tennessee that created thousands of jobs.
The first Saturn was the S series in 1990, offered in sedan, coupe, and station wagon. Saturn began with a commitment to friendly customer service and introduced no-haggle prices, which proved popular. For their first decade Saturn cars sold well, and got high marks for quality and reliability in comparison with imported rivals. All through the first decade Saturn cars only received a skin deep makeover in 1995, as sales began dropping.
In 2000 GM made a re-commitment to Saturn with the new L series plus the Vue SUV and the Relay minivan. The original S series was replaced by the Ion sedan and coupe.
Financial problems at GM resulted in no new product development at Saturn as it increasingly competed with more up to date products, while it’s market share gradually withered away.
During the last production years, Saturn introduced two new models that made some headway, the Aura mid sized sedan and wagon plus the sporty two seat Sky roadster. The Vue Green Line hybrid SUV also made it’s debut, but they were not promoted enough in a competitive market.
The last Saturn was the 2009 model, as the company was closed as part of the GM bankruptcy reorganization. An attempt was made to sell the company to auto parts distributor Penske Automotive Group, which saw an opportunity to use the Saturn dealer network to sell cars made by others under the Saturn brand, but the deal fell apart.