L-Series May be Renamed 'Saturn V'


In a move that may indicate Saturn has concerns that its three-letter naming convention won't be successful in the ultra-competitive midsize market, SaturnFans.com has learned that the company may be looking into its past for inspiration in naming its upcoming midsize sport wagon. It has been known for quite some time that Saturn will drop the L-Series moniker when the car is redesigned in 2006. What hasn't been known, at least until now, is what the new car might be called.

During a Securities Analyst meeting on January 9th, GM reportedly gave investors a preview of many future models, one of which included a look at a midsize Saturn vehicle called 'Five'. Previous L-Series replacement programs had been developed under the names 'Renaissance' and 'Transponder'. In all likelihood the Saturn Five represents an evolution of the Transponder vehicle. The material presented at the meeting that was posted on GM's website did not mention any of the cars discussed during the meeting.

Some history of Saturn might be needed in order to understand any possible meaning behind the new name. Saturn was originally named after NASA's Saturn V rockets that helped the United States leapfrog the Russian space program. The company's original mission was to propel GM to the head of the small car class. The job of Saturn's next midsize vehicle will be to attract more customers to the brand and help GM rebuild its midsize car portfolio. That's no small feat.

The Saturn Five will be based on GM's Epsilon architecture, and will share components with other GM midsize sedans, coupes, wagons, and crossover vehicles built worldwide. Unlike previous Saturns, the car is believed to have a metal body instead of Saturn's trademark polymer body-side panels.

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Saturn Was Also a Different Kind of Manufacturer

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In the early days, Saturn manufactured its own cars at its own plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee. In addition to innovating on the sales, service, and engineering sides of its business, Saturn's founding fathers spent a significant amount of time developing new manufacturing techniques that were based on some of the "best in class" processes used by companies from around the world.