When ever people talk to me about cars I almost always go back to my first car and how much I loved it. There is nothing like your first car. No matter how crappy it is, even if it breaks down on you all the time and costs you loads of money and sometimes you really hated it, you will love it the rest of your life.
I’m not going to talk about my first car though, because lately that’s not what I think about or miss when I’m thinking about cars now. With the bailouts and reorganizing of the big three in the US my thoughts aren’t on the one car I learned to drive on, but the cars I’ve driven since then. I’ve own a few cars in my life, three of them were Saturns. I owned a ’91 SL1 that was won at a police auction after being found submerged in sea water. I’ve had a ’00 SL2 and lastly my ’03 ION which still drives like a dream and keeps me happy. When people ask me how do I like driving a Saturn I tell them “I Love it!” (yes that was one of the original Saturn slogans, but it’s true) These cars were built for me. They are inexpensive and perfect for my budget, they have enough power to not suck and the maintenance is almost nil. I don’t have to worry about fancy gas or hundred dollar oil changes. Most of my belts are chains and it can take a beating. The Manual shifting is forgiving (can start her up in 3rd for pete’s sake) and its great to use to teach people how to drive stick. Everything is in the right place for me. The head clearance is great, the seats are perfect for my height, the wipers are in the right place, everything is where I want it. Trust me, this is all very important when you generally drive 18+ hour road trips monthly. I don’t care if it’s not someone else’s cup of tea, it fits me.
A year ago I made the decision to keep my current car and not trade up to a new Aura. I could have gotten a good deal and would have had a bit more in the car then I have now. Except here’s the thing, in the last 10 years, 9 of them I have been making car payments. Low, easy to afford but still a monthly payment. I had the opportunity to own my car outright, not having to pay GMAC every month. That was far too tempting to pass up, so I passed on the Aura. Now with the reorganization of GM my beloved Saturn company is getting shut down. The ’10 or ’11 will be the last models of Saturn made, after that Saturn dealers will sell other brands and no longer produce. My different kind of car company is dead! I know there was the threat from day one but I never wanted or thought this day would happen. The next time I go to buy a car I don’t know what I’ll want. I’ll never have the “fits me like a glove” feel again. Sure I like other kinds of cars, but they never fit me as well as a Saturn. For 14K I won’t get a car with everything I need, I will either have to settle for something below my standards or have to pay more then I want to for a car. The Saturn brand is dead, or will be in two years and already I am mourning it. I’m sad the experiment didn’t survive this economy, I’m sad GM isn’t even looking to sell the brand like they will with Saab and Range Rover.
I will now be ignored by car makers and told what I want rather then asked what I want. I know it’s silly to get upset over something like this but it’s the same as when Firefly was canceled for reality programing, or when movies are ruined because the studios want to appeal to the 14 year old girls. I’m not the mainstream, or what the big wigs think is mainstream so I am ignored. Meanwhile if those big wigs paid attention to the niche markets and cultivated our interest and loyalty they would always make money. Examples? Look at Hot Topic, also known as the Walmart of alternative fashion, it’s far from main stream but makes money hand over fist. Look at Dr. Horrible, produced for fans and sold more then anyone ever imagined simply to prove a business model. If you make the little people feel important, we will spend our dollars on you.
Rest in Peace my beloved Saturn Company. I will drive this ION till she can’t move anymore.