I love this topic. I even registered on Disqus to join the fray on the CNNMoney article <-nerd
I don't think the problem with Saturn was the 1-price, it the was the cars and maybe the processes. Let's be honest, the last two-three years of Saturn were the only years they had anything attractive in their lineup. Sorry to offend you early-mid 90's L-Series owners out there but they were abominable. I remember going to a Saturn dealer in the early 90's and salespeople were inviting customers to try to dent a test panel. Maybe they were just too far ahead of their time in their strategy. Maybe they were in such uncharted waters, the Chuck Yeagers of the Auto Retail Industry, they were making up as they went. I was too young and know little about the early years but just my speculation...
And people bragging about how much the didn't pay for a vehicle is a product of all the years Dealers (not manufacturers) got away with making a lot of money. Consumers were not equipped with knowledge/research then like they are today. And lest we forget that they're only equipped BECAUSE of that past.
As far as bragging about how much people paid for their houses, I think that has changed somewhat too since the housing debacle. At least for me, I love telling people how little I paid compared to previous owner. This is true for a lot of things. Ever see these couponing shows? It's not just on TV. I know plenty of people bragging about how much they bought and how little they paid. I see them in stores ahead of too in line. Groupon, RetailMeNot.com, SlcikDeals.net, etc. etc. etc.
I know I probably sound anti-dealer, I'm not, after-all my own well being is funded by the business! That said there are more consumers than dealers, and ultimately they will dictate how this shakes out. Like I commented in that article comments section; if Nature's Own started putting ATM-style Bread Machines on the streets where consumers could by bread for $1.80 instead of $3 and Publix/Winn-Dixie/Supermarket giants came together and said "No, you can't do that, that's not how it's done, you cannot do business in this state" it would be ridiculous. But that's what is happening.