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Wrong About Saturn: GM FastLane Blogs - Rebuttal to NYTimes editorial

Date: Sept 6, 2007


Author: Flybrian

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Date: Sept 6, 2007

Source: GM FastLane

Author: Kyle Johnson

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NY Times Wheels Blog: Wrong about Saturn
By Kyle Johnson, Director, Saturn Communications | Link to Original Post @ GM FastLane Blog

There was a puzzling post by Jerry Garrett in the New York Times' "Wheels" blog yesterday. We were puzzled mostly because we were surprised to learn that we were dead, according to Jerry -- "killed off" in some sinister, if wholly imagined, plot. He called us "a different kind of car company, indeed."

Okay, Jerry caught us. We are different. We're not the Saturn we used to be. In fact, we are about to launch our fifth all-new product in the last 18 months – and we have expanded our strong customer treatment programs: no haggle/no hassle pricing, 30 day/1,500 mile exchange program, 24/7 live web chat, at home test drives, just to name a few.

Jerry's main concern seems to be our collaborative relationship with Opel , which baffles us, frankly, because there's not a company out there that doesn't borrow freely from itself when it sees opportunities to improve. And we strongly believe that the Saturn-Opel design and development relationship makes sense for both the European and North American markets, and gives both Saturn and Opel the strongest lineup possible. This kind of globalized product development process is working: Astra, Aura, Sky and Vue are all acclaimed, and Saturn sales are up -- even in a rough year in the overall automotive industry. So what's wrong with that?

Isn't being a good car company supposed to be about having great products and having retailers treat customers well? So why does Jerry think that it's bad that we’ve changed our business model so that we’re bringing better products to the market?

We'll continue our collaborative relationship with Opel. But Saturn is, was always, and will remain a North American company. Saturn and Opel will continue to have unique regional vehicles; you're probably not going to see an Outlook in Europe or a Zafira in North America.

We're confident that if Jerry actually had the opportunity to drive a Saturn -- any Saturn -- he'd think differently about us. By our records, Jerry hasn’t tested a Saturn recently. We'd like to remedy that. So Jerry, what kind of Saturn would you like to drive, and where can we drop it off?

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