A Different Kind of Car Company… a dead one

saturnlogoNic and I have owned 3 Saturns, and been very happy with every one of them. They’re solid cars, get great gas mileage, have no persistent repair issues, and they look decent. We appreciated their no-haggle pricing, and their sales people that treated you with respect.

Of course, that was then, and this is now. For the past couple years, under a new CEO, Saturn has slowly lost everything about it that made it distinct. Now they just put a Saturn logo on other GM cars, including Chevys and Opels, and try to shovel them out the door.

So I guess we’re not too sad that GM is officially closing Saturn’s doors in 2011. Their innovative manufacturing facilities will continue to be re-tasked for GM’s boring, un-interesting vehicles… which will continue to be decimated by more adaptable and consumer-focused car companies. Good thing the government gave them all that bail-out money…

Oh well, we were planning on getting a Saab next anyway. Hopefully they haven’t run that brand into the ground by the time we go car shopping again.

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8 thoughts on “A Different Kind of Car Company… a dead one

  1. I don’t disagree with you, I have an honest question.

    Are there any facts to back up your personal experience that they were good? Brand perception doesn’t necessarily match up with reality. Unfortunately, I was not able to find an average reliability rating for each brand of car.

    I did find a list of the perceptions of each brand:
    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/new-cars/news/2009/01/2009-car-brand-perceptions-survey/overview/brand-perceptions-ov.htm

    I know a tow truck driver that says that he tows a disproportionate number of Saturns, but I don’t really take that, or what you said as evidence.

    I’m just curious if perception = reality, and if they were good cars statistically speaking.

  2. Not that I know of, just speaking from personal experience.
    3 out of 3 Saturns that we’ve owned were reliable and had no major repair issues over a lifetime of 5 or more years, with 100,000 or more (usually much more) kilometers on them. All got better gas mileage than any similarly sized vehicle our friends had that we could compare to.

    Also, after comparison shopping, in all 3 of our purchases, the sticker price on a Saturn vehicle was within a couple hundred dollars of the best price we could negotiate on a similar vehicle from a different brand where salespeople were encouraged to haggle (read: attempt to screw the customer.)

  3. Incidentally, we currently have a Toyota, and it falls well below our expectations. The engine seems like it would be better suited for a lawn mower, and although it gets great gas mileage for its size, it is a death trap in our Ontario winters.

  4. We had one of the first Saturns growing up and it was great. I think my parents put about 180000 miles on it and it had like 1 repair. Only problem I had was it had a measly 1.8lt engine that was a little wimpy on the highway. Then they bought a Camera and love it too. I always thought Toyota was overpriced when you can get a comparable nissan or honda that for much less. Which by the way we’ve had both and they are great cars…along with our Mitsubishi which is a beast in the snow, but also lacks horsepower. I for one am sold on Japanese cars and don’t think we’ll be buying American anytime soon. Even if it is the “patriotic” thing to do. Besides being Patriotic doesn’t pay your mechanic.

  5. Best car I ever owned was a ’98 Pontiac Sunfire, which is still running out in Calgary with over 300,000 clicks. Mom’s best car was a Dodge Dart that lasted 13 years of continuous use and abuse. I topped 100 MILES/hour on the 401 on the way to the wrecker with that old thing, rust flying off in chunks, but the engine still purring.

  6. I’m hoping the Chevette comes back.

    Saturn was known to make a pretty good car. However, some brands do make better vehicles than others, but the main component to a quality, long lasting car, is taking care of it.

    The more meticulous you are about maintaining the vehicle, the longer it will last. That is something that always skews the statistics of car reliability. We all know there are people who have constant problems with their vehicles, but have 50,000 miles on it without an oil change.

    Where I get frustrated, is when I had my Grand Prix, which I took care of, and still had a lot of problems with it. The dealerships would not fix it, even though it was under warranty.

    I finally traded it in and bought an Acura because everyone I know with one, has had great service and reliability.

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