Saturn: The No Hassle Car Company
Saturn was founded by GM in 1985 as an attempt at copying the “Japanese”
model of auto manufacturing. Known for their highly simplified construction
and simple designs, they were intended to be a low cost competitor and
alternative to other American cars. Saturn focused mostly on small commuter
vehicles, although they made a few light sports cars, most notably the
Saturn Sky. Saturn was ultimately dissolved as part of GM’s reorganization
in 2009, but it was successful at capturing the small car market.
5 Remarkable Facts about Saturn
with the sticker price being the only price the car could be sold at.
that kept GM’s fleet averages within EPA limits.
factory in Tennessee using union labor.
Saturn Car Models
Most Saturn cars were intended to be inexpensive alternatives to what else
was offered on the market. For example, the Saturn Astra was a
badge-engineered Opel Astra. Simple and basic, the Saturn Astra was one of
the least expensive four door sedans on the American market for most of the
1990s. The Saturn Astra was assembled from a complete “knock down” kit made
in Germany, and thus was inexpensive and quick to be put together.
The Saturn Vue was the first Saturn car to be classified as an SUV.
Intended to be smaller and lighter than the rest of the GM line, the Saturn
Vue was nonetheless very large by general consumer standards. A compact
crossover, it offered the carrying capacity and light off road capability
of an SUV while only costing a bit more than the average family sedan. The
second generation Saturn Vue was actually an Opel Antara, sold as a
complete knockdown kit and assembled in Mexico. The Saturn Vue was also
offered in a sporty “Red Line modification which tightened the suspension
and offered a 250hp engine.
The Saturn Sky was the sportiest Saturn car that was ever offered by the
company, as well as the only roadster. Intended to compete with the Mazda
MX-5, Honda 2000 and other “inexpensive sport” roadsters, it had a
convertible top and a 177 horsepower engine, giving it a modest horsepower
to weight ratio. The “Red Line” Saturn Sky was much more powerful, with a
full 260 hp under the hood. This gave it a better horsepower to weight
ratio than the competition, although it was still slow when compared with
more expensive sports cars.