Saturn's cars, meanwhile, were a matter of indifference at best. People came because they liked the stores, and the cars were good enough. As originally envisioned, Saturn cars were to be built in a separate factory with its own UAW labor agreements. They were to share little or nothing with other GM products. Even the cars' body panels would made from a dent-resistant polymer material not used in other GM models.
So here was a brand with loyal customers and well-loved dealers but with products that weren't great and that were expensive to build. You can probably guess what the solution is: Keep the dealers, ditch the products.
Once Saturn begins selling its new compact car, the Astra, this fall, the oldest car in its line-up will be the Saturn Sky sports car introduced in 2006. Saturn now sells cars and SUVs - steel cars and SUVs - that are designed in cooperation with GM's European Opel division. The process saves money by spreading development costs over two continents. It also results in eye-catching cars and SUVs that drive the way Europeans (and Americans who like European cars) like.
And you can still buy them without haggling over the price.