16
Apr
09

Why I worry that GM won’t ever really get it right

Poor Saturn. I was reading another story today about Saturn dealerships closing up shop. There is hope that some dealers and a private equity firm are looking to buy it. I hope so. I have such fond memories of my Saturn. I drove it for 11 years, my niece drove it for 2. It was sold and by now is probably scrap metal. Still, I loved it and it was a good car. It wasn’t fancy, but it worked. The odometer did quit on it at 139,000 so I don’t know how many miles it ended up going. I do know that it took me on a week long road trip to Colorado and it took me the 500 miles every other weekend to see my boyfriend/fiancé/now husband for the four years we commuted to see each other. On my last road trip in it, to St. Louis, it was rear ended and technically totaled. We limped home in it regardless. The frame was bent back into shape and it served my niece her last two years in college.

My Saturn was an early one. It was still made in Spring Hill, Tennessee back when they had “Homecoming” picnics for owners to come see the plant. A few years later, that changed. Saturns were made in several locations throughout the country and the plant in Spring Hill was making something else. Saturn was suppose to be a different kind of car company. It was suppose to be the model for the way GM was heading. It was suppose to be innovative. It was an entirely new management style where the workers and managers worked together. It gave the workers a stake in the car and in the company. But, this new kind of company didn’t set well with the old company. The grand notions were dismantled long before this current dropping of the brand. The old guard couldn’t see a new future.

Saturn could have worked. It’s not the only time GM lost sight of where they were heading, though. They had an electric car. They had people test driving them. Then they rounded them up and crushed them and made more SUV’s. They didn’t get it then. They could have been ahead of the curve and the technology could be a lot further down the road. Instead – scrapped. They are the brink now and I wonder if they get it now. I just don’t know if they can. I hold out hope, there is the Volt. But, GM is going to have to be that different kind of car company that they could have been building for the last fifteen years.

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