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I drive a Saturn S-series, my father and sister both drive Saturn IONs, and my mother drives a Saturn VUE. When it comes time to trade in my wife's car, she'd like to get a Saturn, too.

The stories I hear out of Spring Hill, Tennessee break my heart. The tiny sticker on the rear driver-side window reminds me where my car was built. Spring Hill had roughly 1,400 residents when Saturn came to town in 1990 and built their first plant. Today, the population stands somewhere around 24,000. Three thousand of the towns residents are dependent on the plant for their jobs.

As for the plant itself, they don't make Saturns there anymore. Instead, they've been making the Chevy Traverse. Production of that vehicle has halted, however, and is heading to a plant in Michigan. Spring Hill is, today, idled, and facing closure.

I dearly wish the Saturn idea had succeeded. I'm still hopeful that a buyer will be found to save the company -- and the Spring Hill assembly plant -- but I'm not overly optimistic.

All of which serves to reinforce my commitment to driving my Saturn until it falls apart. It is seven years old and have 48,000 miles on it. It should be good for at least another seven years and 100,000 miles. Perhaps my next car will be a Saturn. Perhaps it will be something else. But my car right now is a Saturn, and I couldn't be happier.

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turtleshell

August 2011

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