The Truth About Saturn: A Different Kind of Car Company | WheelHouse


Comments • 4 204

  • Ege Sevindi
    Ege Sevindi  24 hours back

    5:34 You suck idiot nolan

    • Matthew Perry
      Matthew Perry  1 days back

      I miss my Saturn. I had a 98 Saturn sw2. Ran for 21 years between me and my dad until it died last year.

      • mattmanguy
        mattmanguy  1 days back

        3:38 The Saturn Gundam

        • *Matthew Noneya*
          *Matthew Noneya*  2 days back

          I've seen this before

          • Michael Hopkins
            Michael Hopkins  3 days back

            I worked at the Saturn plant in the late 1990s. You hit the nail on the head with GM execs forcing Saturn to start running like GM. Also, they were way too late on introducing new models. The S-series was an introductory car. They should have had an SUV (or mini-SUV) or minivan out 3 or 4 years before they did, and then a convertible 3 or 4 years before they did. The company had a great environment and staff, but where hamstrung by the bureaucracy of GM corporate. Instead of making small tweaks to the design to fix things like engine noise, they would completely scrap the entire powertrain so they could drop in an engine made at another GM facility.

            • R.A. Cortez
              R.A. Cortez  4 days back


              • John Grabowski
                John Grabowski  4 days back

                4:22 It WAS a cult. :-)

                • TJ McKenna
                  TJ McKenna  4 days back

                  I own a 2007 Saturn Aura (basically a Chevy Malibu) ~ it's got 140,000 miles on it...STILL mechanically sound!!!!!

                  • Joshua Jarman
                    Joshua Jarman  4 days back

                    I love my 2005 Saturn Vue. But. I didn't love it until we lowered and turbo charged it. haha

                    • Robert Schmitz
                      Robert Schmitz  4 days back

                      When I was a broke College student my SC1 did everything I needed it to do and more all the way up to 298,000 miles. I attribute the cars demise to me not being able to maintain the car as it should have been. She was still running however when I sold her. I miss that car!

                      • WyomingASMR
                        WyomingASMR  4 days back

                        My SC got 42 mpg with approximately 80% highway - 20% city mix. Best tank ever was 43.5 mpg. Sadly, a hit and run driver totalled it a few years ago 😭

                        • Eraun Petry
                          Eraun Petry  4 days back

                          The Saturn Vue also had a Honda J-series V6 as an option. Always thought that was random

                          • ThePreppersBunkerOutdoors

                            Nah- gm didnt kill Saturn- the management that Gm chose for Saturn killed Saturn, when they were too incompetent to know if they were making money.
                            A successful saturn would make enough money to design new cars on their own- and thats what the employees should have been shooting for if it were really an enthusiast based brand.
                            Which it wasnt.
                            Saturns sssuuuccckkkkkeeeddd and were always ugly.

                            • Tamer 1
                              Tamer 1  6 days back

                              GM's decline began in the seventies and accelerated in the eighties when Roger Smith took over. The company should have been allowed to declare bankruptcy in 2009, but was kept alive to placate the UAW. If had been allowed to fail it's assets would have been bought up by other car companies and a lot of the same employees would have been hired by the successor companies. Instead we now have GM with the same lousy attitude and management problems producing substandard cars that cost as much as much as better cars built by other manufacturers, but without the quality, reliability, or longevity. They basically don't want to build cars. They would much rather everyone send them $30,000 or so every few years, but since people won't do that unless they get something in return they're forced to build cars to trade for your money. I'm reminded of the old joke when the Cadillac Cimarron was still a "thing." Someone asked a GM engineer what the difference was between a Chevy Cavalier and a Cadillac Cimarron. He replied, "About $5,000."

                              • bobby smith
                                bobby smith  6 days back

                                i drive 93 Saturn sl2

                                • Sergio Grigio
                                  Sergio Grigio  6 days back

                                  OMG your from Atascadero! Thats awesome. 805!

                                  • fun times with Tom
                                    fun times with Tom  6 days back

                                    I really liked the Astra, always planned on getting one then the company disappeared.

                                    • Tom Frazier
                                      Tom Frazier  6 days back

                                      America has always built a subcompact, but not always had success with them-Crosley, Henry J, Hudson Jet etc, the Big 3 had compacts, Dart, Falcon, Corvair, Chevy II.

                                      • Lance Lafonde
                                        Lance Lafonde  6 days back

                                        I'll always hate GM for getting rid of PONTIAC!!

                                        • Tony Polito
                                          Tony Polito  7 days back

                                          While your discussion is generally correct, there's a bit more to the story to flesh out.

                                          In 1982, GM CEO Roger Smith saw Honda & Toyota taking over the market and set out to develop a "Japanese car killer." He funded the $3 billion (ultimately $5 billion) and hand-picked a team of 99 to build a new car, factory and division. Smith gave the 99 a directive of complete autonomy, a complete end-run around GM leadership … so they couldn't screw the pooch. It took them until 1990, but the Saturn team built an state-of-the-art factory, created a strongly positive relationship with union labor off a 3-page contract, developed a an innovative vehicle (eg, plastic door panels) with high quality build and mass market appeal. And they created new marketing tactics to sell it (eg, a loaded base model, few pricey options; no-haggle pricing, extreme customer service).

                                          By 1992, Saturn was selling almost 250,000 units/year, the factory was at full capacity, labor & management were on the same page, the growing market share of Honda & Toyota was firewalled … and 95% of Saturn owners surveyed said they were coming back to Saturn for their next car as well. Now it can be argued that there was no cash profit showing on that $5 billion investment, but all the things mentioned in the previous sentence were worth plenty to GM. $5 billion sounds like a lot of dough, but it cost GM about $2.5 billon to develop any new car platform and at least as much to build a brand-new greenfield factory. So GM got what it paid for, and plenty more. Roger Smith wanted a "Japanese car killer" and he got it. And GM badly needed it.

                                          To reiterate the point, GM profited greatly from its $5 billion investment. Again, its small car market share was protected from the Japanese, it had a successful new car platform, it had the basis of a turnaround in union/management relations, and it had almost a million customers banked to return to Saturn for their next car.

                                          Yes, you're right in your statement that what went wrong was that GM started running Saturn like GM. So WHY did GM start running Saturn like GM?

                                          The downfall of Saturn was essentially the loss of its champion. Roger Smith drove the first Saturn off the line in 1990 … the day before he retired. That left Saturn without any political cover right out-of-the-gate. And Saturn had made plenty of executive enemies in GM … by showing them up. They had been proved impotent, not just by the Japanese, but by their own sibling who succeeded in no small part by the mandate to ignore them.

                                          As soon as Smith was gone GM execs started digging, scalping money as the cash profit they said they were due. By 1994 or so, they had pushed Saturn into a negative cash situation and things started tumbling downhill. That gave GM execs the excuse to start cost-cutting, force-feeding common parts from the rest of GM, forcing an upgrade to a Saturn that was wildly popular as-is … into a [email protected]$$ Opel that showed profit on paper (but that buyers wouldn't buy), and creating union members who now wanted the protection of the full UAW contract.

                                          GM was, and is, run by financial pin-heads, lacking any management skills whatsoever. And the only money they understand is folding money, not preserved market share or a bank of a million qualified buyers-to-be.

                                          But, even then, it really wasn't about the money. The original Saturn had been priced low, to boost its taking of initial market share, just as Roger Smith desired. There was plenty of room to slowly raise the price of the Saturns after that … and still undercut Honda & Toyota pricing. And there's another way to look at it. The Wall Street Journal had opined that "every Saturn was being subsidized by the sale of a Cadillac." As if that were a sin. But, really, that's exactly how it SHOULD have been, given Cadillac was going down in flames and Saturn was rocketing into outer space. Saturn was an investment in the future, Cadillac was the dying cash cow that rightly ought to have been milked to fund that investment.

                                          No, it was GM leadership's bruised egos & reputations, their thirst for power & control, that led to them to carve up an operation that was wildly successful from almost every angle … into just another failing duplicative (eg, Pontiac Solstice vs. Saturn Sky) GM car division. When GM already had more duplicative failing car divisions than it needed.

                                          There's been plenty of times since then, including one bankruptcy, that GM leadership would have sold their grandmothers on eBay to have a car with American sales of 250,000 units/year, even if it only paid off the monthly rent and the light bill. Now even that point is moot, since GM leadership has lost so much of the American market share that they are pulling the plug on Detroit and moving to China.

                                          The point of killing Saturn … as is the point of everything GM does … was to ensure its pin-head bean-counting executives remained a bunch of top-floor, do-nothing, know-nothing, country-club-dues-paid, 1% elitists.

                                          If the reader has any doubt of the detachmment, incompetence and elitist mentality of GM leadership, give a quick flip-through to "On A Clear Day You Can See General Motors," John DeLorean's insider look at GM leadership in the 1970s.

                                          • Cody Roden
                                            Cody Roden  7 days back

                                            Rip Hummer if our tax payer money is saving company’s they should of only saved Hummer instead of GM lmaooooo

                                            • Cody Roden
                                              Cody Roden  7 days back

                                              Haha I don’t think it would of survived regardless if they never made a profit even though they sold a million cars, profit as in they made it out of the excess of the original cost to make the company

                                              • Legend of the PHASOR
                                                Legend of the PHASOR  7 days back

                                                Let's not also forget they invented their own electric car that was lease only, and they recalled them all after realizing that they were unbreakable. The motor gear brakes for you, slowing you to a stop even though it had ABS, and that regenerated electricity. GM can suck dick.

                                                • Legend of the PHASOR
                                                  Legend of the PHASOR  7 days back

                                                  Dont let anyone badmouth Saturn. I owned 1 and it was a beast. Nothing broke mechanical wise, but the interior was 90% plastic that looked like leather.

                                                  • MEUProductions
                                                    MEUProductions  1 weeks back

                                                    I miss my Saturn a lot. It was my first car. I got a job in outside sales, and my 185k mile SC1 coupe wasn’t going to cut it.

                                                    It was so easy to fix. My water pump went out, and it cost me $39 lol.

                                                    Still miss that little guy.

                                                    • William Schwartz
                                                      William Schwartz  1 weeks back

                                                      I'm a firm believer that our government created the oil crisis in the 70's because they were working on new and different trade deals that would benefit them and one of those in particular was the import car market gee how convenient, they not only managed to take away real good vehicles and neuter major automakers but they also created a monopoly on the automotive market thus making the foreign market cost for a smaller cheaper vehicle cost as much as a fully equipped America vehicle with far less quality and likability. Big brother government does not want you the working class people to be able to afford great things at a great price instead they mark up the costs so much an average basic vehicle cost more then it actually should thus working with the banks created the financing/leasing system.., hmm seems everything does exactly what I stated benefits government not you think about it

                                                      • bannisher
                                                        bannisher  1 weeks back

                                                        I had an SL. Little bastard was quick and survived an unoccupied trip down a wooded hill with barely a scratch.

                                                        • Random Reviews & More
                                                          Random Reviews & More  1 weeks back

                                                          Does anyone here in the comments have a Saturn coupe from 1991-1996 models, I do and I love it, I’ve had 3

                                                          • Hunter Montgomery
                                                            Hunter Montgomery  1 weeks back

                                                            The Up to Speed on Saturn that James won't do. Rebel Nolan, fight the power

                                                            • Count SaintKen
                                                              Count SaintKen  1 weeks back

                                                              I used to work at a Saturn Auto body dealership repair shop. Actually they are very well-built car the car can literally be taken apart with a few torx bit and a 10 mm socket

                                                              • Cynical Sayonara
                                                                Cynical Sayonara  1 weeks back

                                                                Nuts to Saturn. R.I.P. Pontiac.

                                                                • Guy Magson
                                                                  Guy Magson  1 weeks back

                                                                  Why didn't GM just make the astra a Saturn and used the 1.8 petrol and the main engine it's got some go and the gsi modles are super quick could've done really well in the us I reckon

                                                                  • Joepumaa
                                                                    Joepumaa  1 weeks back

                                                                    sl1 was my first car and shes still going strong for 3 years now..... may have just deleted the muffler a week back tho

                                                                    • Aaron P
                                                                      Aaron P  2 weeks back

                                                                      I drove the T/C Sky with a tune and downpipe. Thing pulled pretty damn well actually. Super fun car imo. I wouldn’t buy one myself though

                                                                      • Ingus Podnieks
                                                                        Ingus Podnieks  2 weeks back

                                                                        Im surprised, a csr guy like me doesnt lmow this kar lol, probably because its american

                                                                        • Dwayne Mattson
                                                                          Dwayne Mattson  2 weeks back

                                                                          Funny, the Vega and Chevette were also rebadged Opals.

                                                                          • Tracy Albino-Daggett
                                                                            Tracy Albino-Daggett  2 weeks back

                                                                            Loved my 1992 Saturn SL1. Still have fond memories. Loved the dent resistant panels and the the exhaust system ( never needed replacing)

                                                                            • logan carrey
                                                                              logan carrey  2 weeks back

                                                                              What about the sky?

                                                                              • boo yah
                                                                                boo yah  2 weeks back

                                                                                I miss my Saturns (the first was a lease, the second one totaled out due to accident).

                                                                                • Cesare Smetters
                                                                                  Cesare Smetters  2 weeks back

                                                                                  My brother and I race at a local clay durby track and the 95ish saturn sl2 stick shifts are almost the preferred car.

                                                                                  • Matthew Ronson
                                                                                    Matthew Ronson  2 weeks back

                                                                                    It's a myth that "American car makers paid no attention to gas mileage". What were the point of sale for the likes of Ramblers and Valiants? Answer: budget/economy cars.

                                                                                    Another myth U.S. Automakers "didn't care know how to make small cars". The fact is, they could not afford to make compacts because the profit margins were too small to build them to higher specifications.

                                                                                    The demands on autoworkers extensive and generous benefits accounts for a large portion of this handicap. Foreign makers do not have the associated exorbitant labor costs.

                                                                                    This same principle is why U.S. Automakers today are going as far as dropping all production of non-speciality/sport automobiles and are otherwise focusing exclusively on trucks, SUVs and vans. It's the only way they can make any profit.

                                                                                    The myth that 'American car companies don't know how to make small cars' are the kind of phrases that get repeated so much that "everybody knows it must be true", when it is not.

                                                                                    • Poon D
                                                                                      Poon D  2 weeks back

                                                                                      My 2007 Saturn Aura is amazing and super reliable the only things that went wrong were things i hapened to do

                                                                                      • Chopped Up Cow
                                                                                        Chopped Up Cow  2 weeks back

                                                                                        What is that background music in the beginning? I need that in my life!

                                                                                        • Matt Jessee
                                                                                          Matt Jessee  2 weeks back

                                                                                          I'd love so much for Pontiac to come back somehow. I loved their cars as a kid.

                                                                                          • Jasc Random
                                                                                            Jasc Random  2 weeks back

                                                                                            And they were Ugly as fuck.

                                                                                            • FugitiveVette
                                                                                              FugitiveVette  2 weeks back

                                                                                              I owned an SL1 drove it to 250,000 miles, then I bought a 2006 Saturn ion redline that car was awesome and I still own it to this day It has 180,000 miles and still running strong!

                                                                                              • Stephen Gregson
                                                                                                Stephen Gregson  2 weeks back

                                                                                                My first car when I got my drivers license in fall 2005 was a 1993 Saturn SC-2. It was a cool car, but even for an economy car the interior plastic felt cheap and rattled around a lot. I drove the car for less than a year before I had a low-speed crash with a parked car and messed up the front end and got rid of it. During the time I owned it, we had the alternator replaced THREE TIMES. Either we kept getting dud alternators, or something about the car kept eating up those alternators!

                                                                                                • Stinger Grail
                                                                                                  Stinger Grail  2 weeks back

                                                                                                  Make money, fuck customers.