Astra Will be Profitable

With the exception for a year or two in the mid-1990s Saturn has struggled to make money selling small cars. Not so when it comes to the European-sourced, Opel-based 2008 Saturn Astra due in Saturn stores later this year.

"In the old days of running the corporation regionally, we probably would not have done the program," GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz told Automotive News at the Chicago Auto Show. These days GM is thinking globally, he says. Sharing cars across continents not only provides unique vehicles and reduces an overlap of models across GM brands in North America, but it also helps cut development costs required for an all-new model. "We just had to tell ourselves this (car) avoids a ton of investment. It gets us a highly competitive car into the Saturn showroom with minimal delays for the easy federalization that we had to do."

"The profitability isn't great, but profitability is there, which is a tough trick to do on a small car," Lutz said. "The reason it is profitable even at a low margin is because of the investment avoidance."

Source: Automotive News

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