2010 Buyer’s Guide: Saturn Repackages Options, Adds Limited-Configuration Trim Levels to its Smaller Three Model Lineup

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SaturnFans.com 2010 Buyer's Guide
Saturn is taking a less-is-more approach for the 2010 model year. For starters, the brand has dropped the low-selling compact Astra hatchback and Sky roadster from its lineup, allowing retailers to focus on selling the three most popular models: the Aura, Outlook, and Vue. Each of the vehicles is now available with new limited-configuration trim levels. This should help the company reduce the overall number of orderable vehicle configurations and increase the likelihood that customers find the car they're looking for on retailer lots. In addition, this strategy will likely enable Saturn to simplify its ordering processes, reduce manufacturing costs, and keep the most popularly equipped models in stock.

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Saturn launched its lineup of compact sedans and coupes in the fall of 1990 as an relatively unknown and untested manufacturer of "a different kind of car." The Saturn team did the impossible by implementing a set of strategies that included building quality vehicles and crafting an intriguing message that attracted car buyers who had written off domestic cars long ago. That was no small feat. In his book, "Building Strong Brands," author David Aaker set out to "not only to describe what was done but also to suggest the logic behind the strategies: why they were pursued, and how they were intended to contribute to the brand." He concluded that "although certainly some elements of the Saturn strategy may have been critical, it was the synergy of the total program rather than the power of any single element - that led to its success."