General Motors Corp. has begun production of the new ’03 Saturn Ion at its Spring Hill, TN, manufacturing plant.

GM and United Auto Workers officials were on hand Aug. 29 at Spring Hill as the last Saturn S-Series rolled off the production line and the first Ion followed behind it.

The first S-Series was built at Spring Hill on July 31, 1990. Its replacement, the Ion, is the first vehicle GM has launched based on its Delta small-car platform.

The Ion sedan will hit Saturn showrooms in the fourth quarter, while the Ion coupe debuts during first quarter 2003.