The perfect-looking car: A Saturn.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Sep 01, 1991

Dear Tom and Ray:

I would like your comments on the Saturn automobile. Three or four times I have seen what I thought was the perfect looking car. Each time, it turned out to be a Saturn. It has that sporty look I like, and has four doors, which is important to me. I don't know much about it, and before I go to a dealer, I would like your unbiased opinion. I am a single, 50ish woman, and am planning to buy a new car this winter. The Corolla, Camry, and Civic all look a little boring to me, but I don't want to be in the repair shop all the time either. What do you think?

TOM: Boy, Nina, if you think the Saturn is the perfect looking, you must have driven nothing but Plymouth Horizons for the last ten years.

RAY: Actually, it's not a bad looking car, Nina. And if YOU like it, what else matters? We've driven it, in fact, and were favorably impressed. General Motors Saturn division set out to build a car that would be comparable to the Honda Civic. And we think they did it.

TOM: GM also set out to start a whole new car company. They said they weren't going to steal parts from other GM divisions. They weren't going to just jam a bunch of components together and make the car as cheap as possible, like they've done with most of their other cars.

RAY: How they sneaked all this by our buddy, former G.M. Chairman Roger Smith, I'll never know. I guess that's why they put the Saturn plant in they could hide it from Roger.

TOM: Anyway, in addition to making a pretty good car, they appear to be doing things right, too. Like when they discover a problem, they don't just keep selling the cars anyway, and wait for the customers to complain. They actually stop selling the cars until they fix the problem. This may sound like just good business to you, but it's a total revelation to the folks at GM. We even spoke to a Saturn owner who was given a brand new car free of charge because some bad coolant had accidentally been put in his at the factory. He didn't even have to complain. Saturn tracked HIM down and made all the arrangements.

RAY: So even though it's too early to know anything about Saturn's reliability, their attitude has certainly been impressive. So if the Saturn appeals to you, Nina, go for it.

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