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Subject: the Truth about GM

A number of years ago, GM looked at what Japanese cars were doing to the American car business and decided to 
try an experiment - build a reliable, affordable car right here in the States. Crazy, I know, but the Saturn car company was born. 
And for a while, they built reliable, affordable cars that got great gas mileage and didn't break down. Driving one, you'd almost 
forget you were in an American car. Buying one was easy, because everybody paid the same price - the price on the sticker 
rather than whatever the dealer could screw out of you. The line was very popular at first.
Naturally, this could not be tolerated at GM. Saturn was making the other car divisions look like American car companies. 
So GM took over their own company, replaced all the leadership with tried-and-true crony losers. They even stopped making Saturns 
at the Saturn plant, shifting them to other plants in Mexico and Canada, and started making some other car in the Saturn plant - brilliant! 
The cars began to suffer in quality, as they were crammed more and more into the GM model. Service centers started screwing customers, 
playing games with warranties. Owner loyalty began to drop off. Even so, Saturns were better made than any other GM car on the road. 
There just was less and less to attract potential buyers to a Saturn when they could get something just as good or better elsewhere. 
The different kind of car company had become one more of the same.

One quick example of the Saturn/GM mentality that brought ruin upon this company. I have a 2003 Saturn Ion. Ask any Ion owner 
and he will probably tell you how, on cold mornings, his car's security system will prevent him from driving his own car. Saturn has the 
Passlock system, which is supposed to prevent the car from being started by anything other than the car's key. The problem is, 
the Passlock system is so poorly designed that sometimes, especially in cold weather, it fails to recognize its own key and shuts 
the engine down. How smart is that?
Some version of the Passlock system has been in use since 1996. They are all faulty. GM has never issued a recall, never attempted 
to repair this fault, which one week ago left me sitting in my driveway while my kindergarten son was at school waiting for me to 
pick him up. The Passlock system cannot be disabled. It comes on every car, whether you want it or not. It can be bypassed with 
a remote starter system, but this requires modifications that not everyone is competent enough to do. The dealership will charge you 
anywhere up to $600 to fix your Passlock. The only real solution is to replace the ignition switch, but these tend to fail after a year 
or two, by which time your warranty will have expired.
Bartcop's Law #2 obviously applies, when it comes to the Passlock system. GM, and most other American car companies, 
build failure into their vehicles in order to sell warranties and to generate profits in their service centers. They chose immediate, 
short-term financial benefit (service, warranty sales) to long-term financial success (owner loyalty, repeat customers).
By the time GM realized that by turning Saturn into GM, they were destroying the Saturn brand and the brand loyalty that 
had made the early Saturns such a big success. They tried to turn things around a few years ago, but by then it was too late, 
and the latest financial crisis has doomed the line. I am on my third Saturn. It's the last Saturn I will ever own. My next car 
will be made in Japan or South Korea. Sad, but true.
They should close GM and keep Saturn. But as usual, the financial masters of the universe have everything back-asswards. 
American car makers have no recourse but to appeal to our patriotism to get us to buy American cars. 
Buy American, they say, to support Americans!
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

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