UTSI Keeps Saturn Production Line Going

SPRING HILL, Tenn. — An estimated 2,200 new Saturn cars are on the highway or in dealer showrooms today because of the University of Tennessee Space Institute’s quick response, a Saturn official said Friday.

UTSI loaned Saturn a part for a laser used to weld gears in the company’s transmission manufacturing plant here June 6. Saturn had no spares, but UTSI did.

“We would have been down two or three days” waiting for a replacement part from a supplier in Germany, said Saturn senior manufacturing engineer Jim Havens.

“That would have meant no cars would have been made at Saturn for that period of time. That’s a lot of cars and a lot of money UTSI helped us save.”

The Saturn plant here rolls approximately 1,150 cars off its production line daily, Havens said.

“It would have been between 2,200 and 3,300 cars we would have lost the ability to make,” he said.

“UTSI bailed us out” in 1991 or 1992, Havens said. “We borrowed another part that kept us running for a couple of days.”