Today's car is an interesting case study in how to ruin a perfectly good brand.
1991 Saturn SL. When Saturn hit the market it was something completely different. Brand new from the ground up, everything about the car - and the company - was a radical departure from the way GM had always done business. It was not simply a Chevy Oldsmobuick; it was its own car entirely.
The line started small: There was a coupe, a sedan, and a wagon. The line would grow only with extra trims added for the first decade. Then, at the turn of the millennium, Saturn decided to expand with the LS series of mid-size cars (the SL were compacts). This was the beginning of the end, as the LS was merely a re-badged Opel Vectra from the European market, and they were plagued with problems, far in excess of the SL line.
How bad was the LS series? Let me pull from my own experience. In 2000, we were looking to trade the wife's aging convertible in on a sedan. The field was narrowed to the Honda Accord and the Saturn LS200. For the Honda, an extended warranty (bringing the bumper-to-bumper coverage to 5 years, 60K miles) with $0 deductible was $399. For the LS200 it was $2,400.
Needless to say, we bought the Accord...
That is all.