By sommerfeld on Aug 25, 2005
Some years ago, my parent's (non-GM) car caught fire in their garage due to a defective cruise control switch. The fire went out but there was substantial smoke damage elsewhere. They had been on vacation at the time, and a recall notice for the defect was in their held mail when they returned from vacation. So I tend to take recall notices and the like as high urgency issues, worthy of immediate action.
My current car is a Saturn.
Today, in my mail, I received a plain white envelope with a Saturn return address and the ominous notices "Important Vehicle Information Enclosed" and "Open Immediately Do Not Discard". I was suspicious, but given the past family experience with recalls, I opened it immediately just in case.
Was it a recall notice?
Nope, just a slimy marketing trick. When I called the dealer to complain, they denied that it was a deceptive practice and then hung up on me.
It used to be that Saturn tried to be a brand for people who just wanted reliable transportation without the slimy behavior so common among auto dealers. My experience buying in 1996 was good. But now it seems they're no different from the rest. For all practical purposes, they're dead.