Reader Question: Saturn?

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Here’s the  latest reader question, along with my reply! 

Mark asks: The other day I saw a Saturn for the first time in quite a while. Do you know what happened to those? They used to be fairly popular and I think they are out of business now. I was just wondering if you knew what happened there.

My reply: Saturn was a division of GM – until it was cancelled back in 2010. It was created to be GM’s new small car brand back in the ‘80s – when GM small cars were in general disrepute. The idea being to start with a “clean slate.” 

Initially, Saturns were not just rebadged and re-sold Chevys. The early cars, like the SL and SC, had unusual design features such as space frames and non-structural composite  plastic exterior panels. They were also fun to drive little cars that got good gas mileage and they sold well.

But over time, Saturn  – like GM – drifted into a kind of ennui of mediocrity and many of its models became rebadged other-GM-brand models.

The division lost market share and after GM went bankrupt circa 2009, it was cancelled.

That said, Saturns – even the latter-era ones – aren’t bad cars and even though the brand is no more you can still easily get necessary parts. And because the brand is no more, you can often find great deals on these things.

For a beater/commuter car, I’d buy one myself for precisely this reason.

Remember: Popular almost always means pricey… .

I’d also buy a solid (and cheap!) Pontiac Aztec, by the way – for the same reasons. Of course, I am weird!

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. I put 150k on a 2002 Saturn SL. Cheap to buy….great mileage (40 on the highway)…good car.

    Pontiac Aztec?

    Fond memories of Walter White.

  2. Saturn: Proof that it’s hard to soar like an eagle when you’re surrounded by turkeys.

    Or in the case of GM, chickens.