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
And for a while, they built reliable, affordable
cars that got great gas mileage and didn't break down. Driving one, you'd
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
at the Saturn plant, shifting them to other plants
in Mexico and Canada, and started making some other car in the Saturn plant
The cars began to suffer in quality, as they
were crammed more and more into the GM model. Service centers started screwing
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
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
Passlock system, which is supposed to prevent
the car from being started by anything other than the car's key. The problem
the Passlock system is so poorly designed that
sometimes, especially in cold weather, it fails to recognize its own key
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
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
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
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
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
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
will be made in Japan or South Korea. Sad, but
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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