The Saturn Story

Given the plight of the US automakers and their hopes for bailout money, this New York Times article on the decline of the Saturn brand is pretty interesting. Saturn was launched by GM back in 1990 with the goal of creating a different kind of car company. It was set up as a separate company, the vehicles were different (smaller, more gas efficient), management/labor relationships were reimagined, and a new culture was built and shared by customers and employees. Sales peaked in 1994…but then the long slide began as the industry moved toward SUVs and GM began to swallow the brand and loose sight of its guiding principles. Now GM may be looking to close or sell the company. Here’s to hoping that Saturn lives on and that this current crisis will remind Detroit what can be accomplished with a bit of inspired thinking.