Saturn Lineup Could Grow to Eight Models by 2011

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Analysts are still pouring over data released by the United Auto Workers as part their negotiated deal with General Motors.

Among information provided to workers was a vehicle production schedule for 16 U.S. plants through the year 2012. Based on pieces of the cryptic information released, some reporters believe that Saturn's lineup could grow to as large as eight models by the year 2011. In addition to the Astra, Aura, Outlook, Sky, and Vue, Saturn may add a subcompact, a small minivan, and possibly a small rear-wheel-drive (RWD) sedan to its stable.

  • GM will begin building a product internally known as "Delta MPV 7," at its Deroit-Hamtramck plant. This seven-passenger vehicle is believed to be a version of the next-generation Opel Zafira compact minivan. The Zafira is "one of GM's leading European models," says the Detroit Free Press. "Saturn is almost certain to get a version, and Chevrolet could, too."
  • A subcompact "Gamma" 4-door notchback will go into production beginning in 2010. The Tribune Chronicle writes that Joe Langley, senior market analyst for CSM Worldwide in Northville, Michigan, believes that GM will "add Saturn to the Gamma line." The Saturn Gamma (likely co-developed with Opel as the next-generation Corsa) would compete with the Toyota Yaris and Honda Fit. The so-called B-cars are a "big market, a growing market," according the Langley, largely due to rising fuel costs. However, he told the newspaper that total Gamma production would only reach 100,000 to 150,000 vehicle each year, which would not be enough to sustain Lordstown alone. "But when you add the Alpha, then you start opening a lot of opportunity," he added.
  • According to documents, the aforementioned RWD "Alpha" architecture will be also built in Lordstown, Ohio beginning in 2011. Alpha-based vehicles will be upscale (but affordable) RWD models, designed to compete with the BMW 3-Series. To date, GM has not yet publically shown an Alpha-based concept or prototype. The Tribune Chronicle reports "Langley said GM might add a Chevrolet or Saturn – even an entry-level Cadillac model – to the Alpha lineup."

Source: Detroit Free Press, Tribune Chronicle

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