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With you dear fellows being my worshipped and adored purveyors...

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Dear Tom and Ray:


With you dear fellows being my worshipped and adored purveyors of truth in the automotive industry and all, I desperately need your help. I read your column religiously, but I have no recollection of seeing anything about the line of Saturn cars. I am 17 and looking for a car to buy that is sleek and stylish, yet affordable; and Saturn seems to be it. Is there ANYTHING wrong with this car or company? I want an informed opinion, so I don't end up buying a lemon from hell, like the '88 Mercury Tracer I drive now. Any information you can reprint from past columns would be greatly appreciated. Beth

RAY: You think we SAVE stuff from past columns, Beth? Are you nuts?? Our lawyers advise us to throw it out immediately!

TOM: Actually, Beth, we've said some very nice things about Saturn...the car, the company, and the planet. For a small car, the Saturn handles well, it's pretty comfortable, and has plenty of power. You can even get all of the crucial safety features (i.e. airbag, anti-lock brakes, dual cupholders) that we always recommend. It's a very nice little car.

RAY: And it seems to be pretty well made. Time will tell if it proves as durable as Honda Civics and Toyota Corollas have proven over the years, but we think it has a very good chance.

TOM: Perhaps most importantly, Saturn dealers are breaking new ground in their attitude towards customers. First of all, they have a "one-price" policy. For some inexplicable reason, they've decided to just tell people what the car costs. This means you don't have to go through that age-old stupidity where the salesman with the white belt and white shoes says "well, let me go talk to the sales manager and see if he'll go for it."

RAY: Saturn dealers also appear to have done away with the "dealer's shrug." That's when their shoulders start approaching their ears the moment a customer starts describing a problem with the car. Rather than blaming the problem on the customer, they're fixing the cars. They seem to really want to make Saturn owners happy. Somewhere they got this crazy notion that happy customers will tell their friends about Saturn, and might even buy ANOTHER Saturn someday.

TOM: Gee, where did they ever get such a crazy idea?
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