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Detroit's Mr. Fix-It Takes on Saturn
Sep 21, 2009

With all of the rights and wrongs of the government auto industry bailout  and the GM ownership plan one interesting side story is that of the Saturn Brand.  For a while, how they did what they did was having a very positive effect on consumers in the "hassle free" approach of this GM Brand.  But they got themselves in trouble , not so much for How they sold cars ( their behaviors) but more  What they sold (their product).

Let me outline (for those who do not know Saturn) their promise as excerpted from an article in Sunday's New York Times:

 "The promise of Saturn, from its inception, was how it conducted business rather than the specific models it sold (what).  Its dealers covered large geographic areas with minimal overlap. Customers received personal attention usually found only in luxury showrooms. A no-haggle, one-price policy took the strain out of negotiating deals, and new buyers were treated like royalty. As a matter of policy, employees would drop what they were doing and cheer in the showroom when a customer received the keys to a new Saturn."

That behavior tried to stay alive at Saturn  but the cars themselves made the execution of service hard to consistently execute.  Rodger Penske will  try to bring this brand back to its rightful place of differentiation in the automobile industry.  I'm rooting for him.


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