Saturn Announces Upcoming Performance Line

Answering the performance desires of customers, Saturn is developing a series of performance vehicles and released an artist's conceptual rendering of a specially modified Ion quad coupe at the 2002 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas with production slated for 2004.

"The compact vehicle performance market is vibrant and growing," said Jill Lajdziak, Saturn vice president for sales, service and marketing. "Currently, the market for specialized entry-level performance vehicles is dominated by imports, but Saturn has a strong rate of import conquests - and a technologically advanced lineup of all-new and refreshed vehicles. Saturn performance vehicles will give these customers the horsepower, handling and cutting-edge appearance they're looking for in an affordable vehicle."

Saturn's production lineup includes the all-new Ion, the popular Vue sport utility vehicle and the refreshed 2003 L-Series. The Saturn performance series will consist of an Ion tuner and other products from the division's lineup. All will share innovative performance attributes.

Like all Saturn models, the Ion tuner is targeted at customers who might otherwise favor an import brand. In 2001, 79 percent of Saturn buyers listed a non-GM make as their second-choice vehicle, with 55 percent saying they would have bought an import brand. Among entry-level performance enthusiasts, the draw to imports includes an appreciation of utilizing technology to produce significant horsepower gains from a relatively small-displacement engine. Ion's Ecotec inline four-cylinder engine offers that opportunity.

"The performance series represents efficient power, not just more power," said Lajdziak. "Ion's Ecotec 2.0-liter engine responds great to performance enhancements; and it is one of the most versatile, technically advanced engines available. We're able to deliver big performance from a small but highly efficient package."

The Ion tuner, developed with assistance from GM's recently formed Performance Division, benefits from an enhanced suspension - and styling that fits in perfectly with the street look that's popular with compact enthusiasts from Los Angeles to Miami. The specialized components of the performance models will work harmoniously with the all-new Ion's exclusive owner-selectable appearance and convenience options.

"Ion was designed for personalization and the Performance Division was thrilled to work with Saturn on this exciting new vehicle, helping to develop a performance model that gives enthusiasts more of what they're looking for," said Mark Reuss, GM Performance Division executive director. "It's a vehicle that has the right feel behind the wheel, and just as importantly, the right look on the street. All future Saturn performance models will share these traits - they're the hallmarks of a new name in performance."

The Saturn Ion tuner's name and specifications, as well as production of additional Saturn performance models, will be announced at a later date.

Source: General Motors

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