5.052009

5 brands we would miss: saturn

Saturn is today’s entry in the blog series on “5 Brands We Would Miss.” I’m running the series by posting each day this week about a brand from 24/7 Wall’s list of “Twelve Major Brands That Will Disappear.” I have been giving my thoughts on what we would miss as a result of the brand disappearing and inviting readers (you!) to comment as well.saturn_logo

Saturn was a no-brainer for inclusion in the series.  After all I and others (including Newsweek, Martin Bishop, LA Times, Greg Goebel)  have previously written about the sad state of the brand.  So, let me just recap the 3 main points that have been made about why Saturn was such great brand:

  • a bold brand mission:  “to develop and produce an American-made small car that will be fully competitive with the best of the imports … [and] affirm that American ingenuity, American technology and American productivity can once again be the model and the inspiration for the rest of the world,” as described by Roger Smith at its launch.
  • a revolutionary customer experience at the dealership: not just hassle-free, “haggle-free”
  • products designed with their target in mind: the company knew what its Gen X target audience wanted in a car and it showed in their initial product designs

Although the company ended up abandoning these and other elements of “the Saturn way” and the brand has become only a shadow of its former self, Saturn will be missed nonetheless.  Agree?

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  • Sam

    I agree completely. I remember when my brother and sister-in-law were looking to buy a car, probably around 1998. I asked him what they were looking at getting (he would have been late 20s at the time) and he said, something small, we really like the Saturns. Ultimately they got a great deal on a Civic. But the point of my story is this — I can’t imagine someone saying “we really like the Saturns” now, and especially not a late 20s, urban-climbing, newly married couple. Saturn got away from appealing there, to its detriment. And its a bummer. I hope they figure out a save. Long shot, hail Mary…

  • Harry Stone

    If it was 1996 then a lot of people would miss Saturn. In 2009, they are as relevant to car buyers as stale bread. GM destroyed this brand completely and trying to catch up to Honda or Toyota is beyond a dream.

  • Alan

    I believe the exact opposiite of what Sam says. I have been a car enthusiast for the last 15 years or so, and when saturn came out they had a cool brand strategy, but terrible product, i dont think anyone was really ever romanced in the slightestby those early saturns. Yet here i am, in my late 20’s and i went out and leased a new saturn, when my lease was up i bought another version of the same car used, the saturn aura, its probably the best car saturn has ever made and in cars under $30k i would say its probably in the top 5 of domestic automakers, im speaking in terms of design/features/fuel/power. And i know alot of mid to late 20-somethings that do in fact say “i really like some of the new saturns” im not saying they are phenominal compared to bmw or benz or anything, but i think saturn has gotten better over time and are getting the axe right when they were getting really good, i hope penske does a good job, ill be keeping an eye on them.

  • I bought my first Saturn in 1992 when I was just out of college. I know own a family SUV (Outlook – awesome!) with a fam of 4 kids. That brand resonates with me.

  • Hey Denise, Great post. I’ve been blogging about this today too. (sigh) And I will really miss them – particularly with such a tragic ending.

    Don’t entirely agree with you about the vehicles themselves however. They lost that edge back in the 90’s.