General Motors yesterday said that it would phase out its Saturn brand by 2012. In 1985 GM launched the Saturn in response to the success of Japanese and German small-car imports in the United States.
GM also added that it was considering its options for the Pontiac division. The Pontiac name, part of the car business since 1932, could remain on some models, but may no longer be a separate division. GM said Pontiac would be a "focused brand" with fewer models.
GM submitted a viability plan to the government in which it stated that it plans to cut its brands to just four: Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC. (See: GM to shed brands to get bail-out funds)
On Tuesday, GM said it would decide on Hummer's fate by 31 March.
GM was known for its concept of "a car for every purse and purpose" its strategy during the 1920s for retaining buyers from their first car to their last.
GM CEO Rick Wagoner, cited the economic downturn as the reason GM was phasing out Saturn. "Frankly, the opportunity for any brand, and for our volume as a whole, just looks radically different," he said. "It is unfortunate and it seems like a cruel twist of fate at a time when Saturn is loaded up with a fantastic product portfolio."
Saturn sold 188,004 vehicles in 2008, down 21.7 per cent from the previous year. Its best-selling vehicle was the Saturn Vue, a small sport utility vehicle.