Saturn etymology: What does its name mean? What is named after?

Saturn was established to take the fight to the Japanese brands with small cars, and no pressure dealers, but where did its name come from?


Born 1985, deceased 2010. The little division that had it all — its own platform, its own factory, its dealer network — died partially due to GM’s bankruptcy, but also years of neglect and a tired, old product line.

Saturn was initially GM’s internal project name for a “revolutionary new, small car”. The project, and subsequent company and division, were named after our solar system’s second largest planet, but also its most spectacular, thanks to its amazing ring system.

The planet in turn was named after the Roman god of agriculture, Saturnus. Saturnus was, like all Roman gods, almost directly copied over from the Greek pantheon, where Cronus was the god of agriculture.



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Derek Fung

Derek Fung

Editor-at-large — Derek has a lifelong love for all things automotive, from the dullest Camry to record shattering Bugattis. Prior to starting up Between the Axles he was a reviewer for CNET Australia and the founding editor of its Car Technology channel. [Read more]


Saturn etymology: What does its name mean? What is named after?