• Dec 12, 2009
Saturn general manager Jill Lajdziak spent several months this summer and fall working closely with Roger Penske and his staff, trying to iron out the details of the brand's proposed purchase from General Motors. As we all know, that agreement fell apart when Renault's board of directors vetoed a deal to supply cars to a Penske-owned Saturn. When GM decided to shutter Saturn, Lajdziak promptly announced that she would retire from General Motors at the end of this month.

Apparently, in spite of the Saturn deal's collapse, Penske was impressed by
Lajdziak and has now hired her to take over sales and marketing at another of his enterprises, Smart USA.

Lajdziak will become VP of Smart USA on January 1, and will have quite a challenge in front of her. Smart sales have gone into free fall of late. For the year, sales are down 38 percent, and in recent months, they've dipped as much as 70 percent. It seems that everyone who wanted one of the tiny two-seaters has now bought one.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 45 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Please name 1 ex-GM executive who has accomplished anything. These guys are piss-poor executives.

      The ones I know have accomplished even less outside of GM than when they were collecting a check from the General. I know that seems impossible, but it's true.
      • 5 Years Ago
      @Matt

      nonsense.
      it's a european produkt.
      our safety measurements are higher than american measurements.
      the ADAC, Tüv are the best equipped safety institutes world wide.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The "Corporate Culture" at GM makes it impossible for any manager to succeed.

      Roger Penske must have seen something he liked to have chosen her to head up SMART.

      Smart is ahead of the curve for the US market. When taxes on gasoline boost the price up to four bucks a gallon the SUV/Pickup mix at GM is going to be dead in the water and GM will lapse back into bankruptcy.

      She was astute enough to think this is a good time to bail out rather than hang-on in the Fritz Henderson culture.

      Maybe Whitaker will be able to turn it around but I doubt it. If he isn't around the the future GM doesn't have a chance.
        matthew
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ever wonder why NO communist country has ever gotten rich? GM has their business model all worked out.
      • 5 Years Ago
      She may be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.
      .
      • 5 Years Ago
      try facing 2 suv's or pickup's

      i'm sure you worst off than here.
      a bigger mass colliding a big mass with people inside.
      you will feel that over you entire vertebrae and neck.
      i'm glad our insurance companies and tax systems prevents (€€€) such cars here in europe.
      because i don't want to be involved in such an accident.

      the smart performed very good.
      the compartment dind't collaps @ all.

      http://blogs.insideline.com/straightline/2009/04/iihs-crash-test-smart-fortwo-vs-mercedes-benz-c-class.html

      it's clearly visible, the fire department doesn't need the tin opener to get you out.

      it's just a political campaign to buy american *********
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is she the reason Saturn is death, or she just take off as the boat sinks?
      • 5 Years Ago
      She did so well with Saturn (cough, cough) it's a brilliant choice for a clown car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why yall getting on naturally for his spelling you damn nerds get off his nuts.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think we have extras from Idiocracy commenting with us now.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Poopy I knew you would say that you nerd,why dont you go read the dictionary,this not english class you fools got the internet game twisted.

      TRILLLLLLAH
      matthew
      • 5 Years Ago
      I still remember that guy on the Saturn commercials saying "Saturn makes cars that Americans wanna buy!"

      Apparently not.

      Hopefully she'll drive the Clown Car market right into the ground. People look so foolish driving around in these hideous little things.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @matthew
        @James

        i did that on purpose, i thought about changing it, but i decided not to ...
        • 5 Years Ago
        @matthew
        "nonsense.
        it's a european produkt.
        our safety measurements are higher than american measurements.
        the ADAC, Tüv are the best equipped safety institutes world wide."

        I go grab a C-Class...you grab a so-called 'Smart' car...and we will see who lives.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @matthew
        naturalyshocked: dude you have a point. I hate Smarts with a *PASSION*, but they still stick out, especially on the road.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @matthew
        "smart biznis people buy a smart..."

        You're spelling sucks.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @matthew
        I'm certainly not shocked by naturalyshocked. I've heard this socialist lib crap so many times before, so completely devoid of reality. Pizzas maybe, but how much mail do you think this go cart could carry anyway?
        matthew
        • 5 Years Ago
        @matthew
        It's spelled BUSINESS.

        What do you want to advertize? Clown shoes?
        • 5 Years Ago
        @matthew
        "It's pretty bad when you get burned by matt.

        LOL"

        It's hard to get "burnt" by the truth. I didn't burn him...I just enlightened him.
        matthew
        • 5 Years Ago
        @matthew
        People who don't think like me? What's wrong with my taste in cars? I drive a Lexus IS250. It's practical, safe and get's good fuel economy. It has a low cost of ownership too.

        I don't think the smart is a good choice for anyone who values their life.

        The best part of that video is when the MB star flies off the C Class at 1:50 like a ninja throwing star.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @matthew
        "Hopefully she'll drive the Clown Car market right into the ground. People look so foolish driving around in these hideous little things."

        It's already in the ground. They only sold ~650 of those horrid little scabs last month.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @matthew
        @matthew
        nothing man.

        i'm just telling how stuff works.
        these cars draw attention and your brand/biznis gets profit of that.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I swear, she looks so damn annoying that you wanna upper cut her in the jaw.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Everything I ever heard about Jill is that she was not a GM lifer, rather she was a Saturn lifer. She fought tirelessly to make Saturn as successful as possible, and I would argue that many of Saturn's pitfalls are due to other execs at GM, not her. It will be interesting to see how well she does here.
    • Load More Comments