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The Real Reason Saturn Flopped
Saturn, which was founded as an attempt to innovate and freshen up General Motors, was axed in 2010 along with Pontiac. For the most part, it was a combination of bad business decisions, poor timing, and a good old-fashioned recession that put Saturn in the grave way earlier — in just 25 years — than some expected.
Saturn rolled out its first models off the line in 1990 as a competitor for compact models like the Honda Civic and Toyota Camry. The brand also uniquely used plastic to make entire car body panels — which were easier to care for, durable, and rust-proof — and had a "no haggle" pricing model, years before brands like Tesla would try.
However, Saturn eventually jumped on the crossover craze for the 2002 model year when it began producing the Saturn Vue and also attempted to wow the sportscar crowd with the Saturn Sky roadster, which was a rebadged Pontiac Solstice. It went from a brand that tried to be different to essentially the generic store brand versions of other GM models.
By the time the disastrous 2008 recession rolled around and the government started giving bailouts to automakers, Saturn was one of the first extraneous GM brands to go. GM made the decision to shutter Saturn in 2009, and by October of 2010, after a failed sale to Penske, Saturn was gone for good.