Meriva is Called a Car Saturn Needs Now

Opel Meriva Concept assembled a list of vehicles it thinks GM should put into production as soon as possible. "General Motors' product pipeline contains some interesting products that could help bolster swooning sales," wrote the website. One new concept was picked and profiled for each of the company's brands. The Opel Meriva was cited as a vehicle that would be a good addition to the Saturn lineup.

GM's huge turnaround investment in Saturn has been slow to show fruit in the form of a big sales increase. An economic downturn hasn't helped a bit. But a weak and unprofitable replacement for the small Saturn Ion isn't helping either. Saturn needs a replacement for the Ion's replacement that's American-made and tuned to American tastes. Otherwise, the pieces for Saturn's revival are mostly in place. Saturn's line-up is all new, featuring models shared with GM's European brands, Opel and Vauxhall. More hybrids are on the way, too. A full-hybrid Saturn Vue is coming next year, and a plug-in hybrid Vue is expected in 2010. But the Astra, the hatchback that replaced the Ion sedan, was designed for, and is built by, Europeans alone. The Astra's entertainment and air conditioning controls are awkward, to say the least. Worst of all, since paying factory workers in Euros costs more than paying them in dollars these days, the Astra is expensive compared to the competition. GM has said nothing about bringing something like the Opel Meriva concept car, shown at this year's Geneva Motor Show, to the states, and nothing has been reported. But it presents one interesting option for adaptation, if U.S. consumer tastes continue to embrace small, functional van-like vehicles like this, similar to the Mazda5.

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It’s Official: Saturn to Cease Operations in Canada

Earlier today Stew Low, a spokesman for General Motors, officially announced what had been expected for some time: Saturn will cease its operations in Canada on or before December 31, 2009. According to Low, the decision to shutdown operations was jointly made by General Motors and Penske officials after thoroughly analyzing the brand's Canadian business model.