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Eventually, I will put the entire auto industry out of business

Me, my Saturn, and baggy jeans - March 2006

I make my final car payment this month, just in time to watch my vehicle’s manufacturer spin out of orbit. I’ve read a couple articles about what’s happening to Saturn, and I still don’t understand what’s going on. From what I have been able to decipher, GM will continue to make and sell Saturns until 2011, since that is how far in advance they have planned. After that… they will either sell the brand to someone else or use the network of dealerships to sell lots of different brands of cars under one roof? I think? Maybe? Yes? No?

It’s all rather sad, because I love my Saturn. Yes, it only has 4 cylinders. Yes, it barely made it up the Appalachian mountains. But it is fuel efficient and shiny and the back seats fold down and I have a CD player and a cassette deck (for my MP3 player’s car kit) and it carts me around town, which is all I really need. It gets the job done and it only cost about $8,000 and I paid for it all with my own money, so it is mine, mine, mine! Plus, it is a small car I would not have been able to fit into 4 years ago, so I’m proud that there is space between me and the wheel.

That’s why it was rather depressing to read this post on a car blog called Jalopnik about how much they thought Saturn sucked. Then Dana Danger told me that blog is targeted at the demographic crossover between video-gamers and car freaks, so they are mostly little boys who are mad they have to drive their moms’ Saturns. Then I felt better.

The odd thing is my last car was an Oldsmobile…which also went out of business. I buy classic cars before they become classics. Watch out dealerships! In another few years I’ll probably be buying a new car. Pray I don’t come to your lot.

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29 Comments

Jamie • February 27, 2009 at 8:47 am

A ’94 Saturn SL4 was the first car I ever bought from a car lot and paid for via a car loan and monthly payments. I was in college and poor, and it took me forever to pay-off. I loved the car and drove it to death. When it was finally towed away a couple of years ago, it had about 150K miles on it. Yeah, I think they’re nice cars :)

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Nina • February 27, 2009 at 8:49 am

Heh, I love small cars too. I have a Toyota Celica and nobody can fit into it but me. :0

PS, I’m 5’1″ so when I mean small I mean SMALL.

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Adrienne • February 27, 2009 at 9:09 am

Wow, we have the same exact car, down to the color! I had not heard about Saturn’s plans and they make me a little sad. A Saturn was always good for young people buying their first car – for a while 4 of my college friends all had Saturns. It always amazes me to see hybrids that have a worse MPG rating than my SL2. I know they changed the MPG calculations recently, but my 10 year old car gets 35 MPG on the highway and some sedan hybrids are rated at only like 27 or 30? Ridiculous!

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Sandy • February 27, 2009 at 9:10 am

Yes, my beloved Pontiac brand is on the chopping block too. There is just so much capital in that name that I am so sad it is just going to fade into oblivion — so long Knight Rider, so long Bandit, you guys will have to get Toyotas….

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Tara • February 27, 2009 at 9:43 am

I sort of feel bad for buying a foreign car (Hyundai) but like you I am paying for it myself and it was cheap(er).

Do us all a solid and buy a Hummer next, won’t you? I’d love to see them go out of business, at least for the sake of the enviroment.

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Meg • February 27, 2009 at 10:34 am

It is really sad to see what’s happening to the great American car companies right now. I always thought Saturn was a great company, and a few of my friends owned Saturns and swore by them. (One even bought two in a row.)

I’m still hoping that the companies can pull out of this nosedive. Although, perhaps this will spur a movement to get out of our cars and walk places, if only to save the wear and tear on our cars ^_~

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Wakati • February 27, 2009 at 10:49 am

I fully and proudly own a ’99 Saturn. I love my Saturn. However, it is sadly falling apart. I am so used to not having a car payment. I was going to get another one. I just love the whole philosophy. Why can’t they get rid of the Dodge Neon?

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Melanie • February 27, 2009 at 10:59 am

I, too, was sad to hear about GM’s plans for Saturn. I’ve only ever driven Saturns – I’m on my third – and I love them. My ION is only 3 years old, but I was already plotting to get an Astra when I needed a new car. Now what will I do?

The first car I bought and paid for myself was a plum-colored 1994 SL2. I loved that thing, and when I finally had to give it up, it had about 170,000 miles on it. And all of my Saturns have gotten 30+ miles to the gallon. What’s not to love?

This stinks.

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Julie • February 27, 2009 at 11:00 am

Our first “new” car was a Saturn 1994, great car! We still have it debating on saving it for my teenager. We wore out the the seat and it as just starting to have a few problems around 209K miles!

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Kara • February 27, 2009 at 11:09 am

I bought a 1992 Saturn SL2 brand new and drove the ever-living-life out of that thing. It took me from Texas to Alaska and back twice, and across the middle US more times than I can remember. When I traded it in on my Subaru, it had over 250k miles on it. Of course it required nearly a quart of oil a day at that point and when it got up over 60 you’d think it had some kind of palsy, but it was a great car. I was sad to hear that they were eliminating the line.

I can only hope my Subaru will last as long and treat me as well.

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KLCthe BookWorm • February 27, 2009 at 11:34 am

LOL, my parents bought a 1994 Oldsmobile so me and my sister would have reliable transportation while I was in college and she was in the high school boarding program on the same campus. The car I just bought last year is a 2006 Dodge Stratus that has also been discontinued. I like thinking about it as “buy a classic car before it’s a classic.” :D

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Elizabeth • February 27, 2009 at 2:44 pm

I had two Saturns. The first one, a 93, was a great car. But apparently they changed the way they made the engines, and the 95 that I bought (after the 93 was totalled in an accident), was a terrible car and started burning a quart of oil a week at about 100,000 miles. Apparently this was not an unusual problem in that particular car, but Saturn refused to acknowledge it. I also had problems at my particular dealership with a really patronizing, rude, service associate. I quit taking my car to the dealership after he told me it was normal for the coolant temp indicator to go all the way into the red when I was stuck in traffic. I took it to a Precision Tune and they discovered that the motor for the fan had burned out. So now I drive a Honda, and love it.

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p. potter • February 27, 2009 at 4:03 pm

I seriously love my Honda Civic. It’s a 2003, black, four-door with damn near 100k miles on it.

It has so many good memories attached to it, I’m going to hold onto it for as long as I can.

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Merry • February 27, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Please do not visit me at work.

(My software company has just been put up for sale. )

But feel free to go visit our arch enemies down the street, ‘k?

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Elizabeth • February 28, 2009 at 1:46 pm

I love my ’99 Saturn SL1 — for all the reasons you mentioned. It’s a great little camping car, because the back seats fold down for lots of cargo room. Mine is a 4 cylinder, 5-speed, and while it is not powerful, it is peppy enough to successfully launch me onto the Chicago expressways. I am very sad about the demise of Saturn. No more carnations on the dashboard!

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julie • February 28, 2009 at 8:29 pm

I loved my saturn sc2..it was purple with pop up headlights and a sunroof..i had to sell it when i started having a family..not too practical for car seats..i still see them around town and sigh…

JUlie

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julie • February 28, 2009 at 8:32 pm

they used to have those little “sending off” parties too for you when you drove it off the lot..made me feel so special..did you have that too?

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Becca • February 28, 2009 at 10:51 pm

I had no idea Saturn was going out of business. This economy really is depressing.

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Rebecca • March 1, 2009 at 2:23 am

I have a Saturn that looks almost exactly like yours, except it’s a ’97. I didn’t know this news (see what you can learn in the blogosphere?), and it makes me sad, too.

I don’t have the same pride of ownership, though, as this WAS my mother’s car. I can hardly believe she bought it since I have trouble getting in & out, and she was 3-4 inches taller than I! It was probably the no-hassle deal.

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Stacy • March 1, 2009 at 10:16 am

I’m laughing so hard I’m crying –

My boyfriend reads Jalopnik.

My boyfriend is a hybrid of video gamer and car geek.

My boyfriend used to drive his mother’s Saturn.

To his credit, he now owns a Mitsubishi SUV, works full time in IT and is the kindest, funniest person in the world. But, still… if the shoe fits…

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she overflows • March 1, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Hey, PQ. I know this may be too personal/what-have-you, and, if so, feel free to ignore it, but! I was just reading your latest tweet and wondered what med they’re trying for you now? I’m a pharmacy tech, so I’m just curious.

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Pam • March 1, 2009 at 6:35 pm

my partner and i LOVE our saturns!!!! they have required very little maintenance. mechanics are always amazed at the amount of miles on them when they service them for the first time for, say, a clutch, brakes… we have traveled all over the country in our saturns and since they are a ’92 and a ’96 (bought new) we haven’t had a car payment in years!!!!

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Pam • March 1, 2009 at 6:39 pm

off-topic question:

are you a lefty? i see you wear your watch on your right hand.

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PastaQueen • March 1, 2009 at 6:40 pm

@Pam – No, I’m just a weird righty.

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Helen • March 2, 2009 at 7:30 am

Please stay away from the Honda dealerships. It took me most of my life to finally be able to own one and I just got it last year. I used to wear my watch on my right too ;-)

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logtar • March 2, 2009 at 11:01 am

Wow, that other blog assessment of the brand could not be any more wrong.

I have known 3 Saturn owners, and their experience was great… so much so that they had enough brand loyalty to go and pick up their SUV model when it came out.

I have heard nothing but good experiences with their vehicles… sure they might be underpowered but they serve their purpose as advertised.

I believe the brand was innovative and not sure why it was not profitable because from at least the consumer side it seemed to be doing quite a great job.

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Rachael • March 3, 2009 at 12:09 pm

I had a an Sl2 and had a horrible time with it. Stuff was constantly breaking. It was an awful car. And the dealership was not helpful at all. Your posts make me think maybe I was just unlucky.

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gazellegirl • March 4, 2009 at 3:28 pm

I loved my Saturns – yes both of them! I even worked in the service department of my local dealer for about 6 months. I am so sad about that business failing thing. My first one was my very first new car and I felt so special about driving it. I even drove it across the country and back on a 3 week solo road trip – and mine DID in fact make it over the Rockies – in a snow storm none the less! When they first came out, it was awesome! Still one of the best used cars to buy too in my opinion.

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Cynthia • March 5, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Hmmm, well, I never bought a Saturn, but I thought about it once. I will put the car companies out of business for a different reason. I pick cars that I know I will love and I keep ‘em until they drop dead, LOL!

My first car, a ’85 Toyota Camry hatchback lasted 17 years and 198,000 miles. Regularly got 35-38 mpg highway. Now I have a 2002 Subaru Outback which I expect might last me even longer. Car salesmen hate me.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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