Lajdziak Offers Glimpse at Future, Saturn Will Offer Seven Vehicles by End of '07

Saturn General Manager, Jill Lajdziak, was in New York last week to give a presentation to automotive reporters at the International Motor Press Association. She talked about the state of Saturn and answered questions afterwards about the brand. MediaPost was at the luncheon event and reported some interesting tidbits of information from the meeting.

Below are some exerpts from their article, along with some commentary and notes:

  • "Lajdziak said Saturn will be GM's 'green' brand, something she insists is inherent in its identity already," reported MediaPost. "In addition to the Vue Green Line hybrid, the company will offer a hybrid version of Aura next year, and another hybrid in 2008." The third vehicle is rumored to be a dual-mode hybrid version of the upcoming Outlook crossover sport-utility.
  • MediaPost wrote that Jill "also noted that Saturn's European sibling Opel will be the basis for future vehicles, such as a Saturn version of the European Opel Corsa compact." With the current-generation Corsa just arriving in showrooms in Europe now, an all-new version of the vehicle that meets U.S. safety and emmissions standards is at least three or four years away. 
  • Based on the discussions at the event, MediaPost says it learned Saturn will offer "seven [vehicles] by the end of next year." Saturn was previously believed to have only six vehicles in its stable at the end of 2007: the '08 Aura, Outlook, Sky, Astra (Ion replacement), Vue, and Relay. News of a seventh vehicle indicates that GM has likely accelerated plans to bring the next-generation Opel Vectra wagon to the North America as a Saturn. The wagon will be based on GM's next-generation Epsilon architecture and will feature an all-wheel-drive powertrain. By comparison, the 2007 Aura is a front-wheel-drive model based on the current version of the Epsilon platform; it will continue to be sold alongside the wagon. Because wagon is being noted as a separate model, Saturn has likely decided to market it as an all-new vehicle (as opposed to just a wagon version of the Aura), much like how Subaru markets its Outback and Legacy models. 
  • Jill reiterated Saturn's commitment to being General Motors' import fighter by attracting new customers into the brand, while caring for its existing customer base. "Our goal for the company is to bring in people who would not have otherwise considered a GM product," she said at the event. MediaPost reports that she said 62% of Saturn buyers would not consider any other GM model. "We are [also] focused on making sure our 3 million owners we have today come along with us." 
  • "The importance of Saturn's current owners is reflected in the brand's loyalty numbers," wrote MediaPost. "According to Lajdziak, loyalty has begun an upswing after a decade-long decline. In the early '90s, 52% of Saturn customers bought a new Saturn when they were back in the market for a vehicle. In 2002, customer retention was down to 27.3%." Jill told reporters in NY that today Saturn is seeing 46% and 47% retention rates.

Source: MediaPost

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