Automotive News: European Strategy Seemed Sound

2008 Saturn Collection Wallpaper

David Sedgwick from Automotive News: I was a believer. I really thought Saturn could succeed - if only General Motors would Europeanize the brand. I saw the light - or so I thought - in 2004 during a GM press trip at a swanky resort in Fayence, a town near the French Riviera. I offered Bob Lutz some free advice: Borrow Opel's cars for the U.S. market. American motorists would appreciate compact Euro cars with sporty handling. He smiled - Lutz was way ahead of me on this one. He invited me to join him down on the lawn, where half a dozen Saturns and soon-to-be-Saturns were lined up. It was just before the Paris auto show. That evening, GM's senior executives wanted to explain how they were globalizing their product lineup. Saturn was Exhibit A. Displayed on the lawn were the Saturn Sky roadster and Aura sedan, the Opel Astra - which later joined the Saturn lineup - and the Opel Antara concept, which inspired the Saturn Vue crossover. I gaped. Lutz and GM's product planners had Opelized Saturn. It seemed like a sure bet: GM had created Saturn to appeal to import intenders. Now it was the real deal. What went wrong? Saturn couldn't make enough noise. It was lost in the cacophony of GM's eight brands.

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