Somehow Mercury survives

Saturn, meanwhile, is dead:

General Motors will close Saturn and wind down its dealership network after a deal to sell the faltering brand to Penske Automotive Group collapsed, the automaker said on Wednesday.

The breakdown of a deal that had been widely expected to close this week will force some 350 Saturn dealerships to close and could cut 13,000 U.S. jobs that would have been preserved under a plan by auto magnate Roger Penske.

Penske had been negotiating with Renault SA to acquire vehicles for the Saturn brand once a production agreement with GM had expired. Those talks collapsed, scuttling the Saturn acquisition by Penske.

If Roger Penske, one of the smartest guys in all of cardom, can’t make something work, it’s not going to work. Period.

Final burial of the brand will be approximately one year from now.


  1. fillyjonk »

    1 October 2009 · 2:50 pm

    Did they ever make cars of the other planets?

    Mars: comes in one color: red.

    Venus: the “car for women.” The ultimate “chick car.” Has a bud vase, make up mirror, and has a lipstick holder on the dash.

    Earth: has not been made yet but is being held in reserve by a new company planning a super-green “hybrid.” Closest previous example: The Adobe, the little car that’s made out of clay.

    Jupiter: This one’s made, it just goes by the name of Hummer. (Big enough to have its own gravitational field)

    Neptune: The mystery car. Few people know anything about it.

    Uranus: Solely designed to make 13 year old kids giggle at it. A re-tooling of the AMC Gremlin.

    Pluto: Not actually a car; the powers that be decided last year this one was really a bicycle.

  2. CGHill »

    1 October 2009 · 9:05 pm

    Tim Cavanaugh at Reason notes one problem with Saturn that has hitherto gone unmentioned: “It was for girls.”

    Then again:

    Those “officials in charge of GM’s other brands” (and at the UAW, which never liked Saturn Corp.’s more flexible contract) were status-stunted males so disgusted by the idea of innovation that they consciously chose to starve something every normal retailer would give a limb for. Saturn customers didn’t just like the product but felt real fondness and familiarity toward the brand. And this wasn’t treated as an opportunity to exploit but a problem to be solved.

    “Status-stunted males”? No wonder they resented producing “girl cars.”

  3. fillyjonk »

    2 October 2009 · 7:37 am

    I was unaware that Saturn was a “girl car.” I was actually contemplating one (well, before GM went pear-shaped) as my next car because of the legendary customer service. (OK, so maybe it is a “girl car.” But not in the way the Neon was, or in the way the New Beetle is, I think)

  4. CGHill »

    2 October 2009 · 8:26 am

    This is probably some atavistic male thinking along the lines that Real Men don’t have a problem dickering, as it were, with dealerships, while women would just as soon sign the papers and get on with it.

    I’ve already dealt with the question of “girl cars,” so I won’t repeat it here.

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