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Evaluating the Performance of Saturn Car Company

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  1. Introduction
  2. Saturn Car Company?Historical Overview
    1. Although the Saturn Car Company was not launched until 1990, researchers examining the development of the organization note that the values and mission of the Saturn organization were conceptualized and created in the mid-1980s.
  3. Building Consumer Confidence
  4. Saturn's Impact on the Auto Industry
  5. Conclusion

Over the course of the last two decades, changes in the competitive environment of business have prompted some organizations to develop new business models intended to boost innovation and provide a competitive edge. While many of these business models have succeeded, many have failed overall. Such is the case with the Saturn Car Company. Introduced as a competitor for the small automobile market to compete against Japanese auto manufacturers, Saturn has not been able to effectively overcome foreign competition in the small car niche of the automobile industry.
With the realization that Saturn Car Company has not been able to succeed even despite notable innovation in the organization, there is a clear impetus to examine the failure of the organization and how Saturn has faired with respect to its Japanese competition. Using this as a basis for research, this investigation considers the original challenge of the Saturn Car Company to compete against Japanese. Through a careful consideration of the business practices and models used by the organization it will be possible to garner a more integral understanding of how Saturn was unable to compete successfully in this industry. Further, by exploring the development of the organization from its beginnings, a review of the policies and practices that have been used for the expansion and development of the organization will be garnered.

[...] GM estimates that Saturn lost approximately $700 million in 1992, and although it broke even in 1993, this was only made possible by creative accounting: billion of its start-up costs will go on GM's books rather than on Saturn's? (p. 12). Further analysts examining the operations at Saturn note that while the organization has been able to show a competitive spirit, in the long-term the organization does not have the physical capacity to overcome all of the Japanese competitors in the market. Clearly, by 1994 results on the performance of the Saturn Car Company were a mixed bag. [...]

[...] In addition to the fact that the Saturn Car Company used the blueprints for the Edsel's design and development as a principle means for identifying what steps not to take in the development of a new car company, researchers also note that in order to develop a successful product, the Saturn Car Company developed an innovative culture that sought to bring management and labor together in a cohesive manner. Specifically, Gwynne and Szczesny (1990) report that: The company president walks around in a polo shirt with a pocket logo right out of Star Trek, allows workers to call him ?Skip' and describes his position as ?team member.' [ ] As for the rank and file they don't punch a time clock and they get to handpick the people they work alongside. [...]

[...] Building Consumer Confidence With the realization that GM had a number of significant hurdles to overcome in the development of its new car line, the Saturn organization utilized an aggressive branding campaign in order to establish the Saturn Car Company as one that was notably different from all other vehicles made by General Motors. In order to create a strong brand image the Saturn Car Company decided to sell the company rather than the car. solution was to sell the company its values and culture, its employees, and its customers?rather than the car. [...]

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