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Old 08-12-2009, 10:37 PM   #1
Charlie
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Default Did Saturn Move Up Market too Fast?

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Did Saturn Move Up Market too Fast?

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Jerry Flint from Forbes: Saturn probably had the latest and best lineup of any GM brand: two well-done SUVs, the Outlook and the Vue, the handsome Aura sedan, a sister of the Chevy Malibu, the European built-small Astra car, and even a two-seat sports car, the Sky. But sales went nowhere. GM had said it will kill the brand, but now hopes to sell the name to Roger Penske.

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Old 08-13-2009, 06:30 AM   #2
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Default Re: Did Saturn Move Up Market too Fast?

Yes, right into Oldsmobile's old slot.

IMHO. Product differentiation was the true key. When Chevy & Pontiac sells the same van, mid size car, small suv, large suv, and sports car, then who needs a Saturn? The answer is.....

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Old 08-13-2009, 06:36 AM   #3
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Default Re: Did Saturn Move Up Market too Fast?

What a poorly written article. Captain Jean Luc Picard who's picture is on the article does not look good either. (see pic on orig article)

The fact is yes, Saturn did move too far upscale too fast, but it was not that fact that hurt Saturn, it was the utter lack of marketing of the new line-up. The Malibu came after and is a derivative of the Aura, not the other way around, sheesh already, a little homework wouldn't hurt, Jean Luc.

What ultimately hurt Saturn was that fact that GM originally designed most of the new line-up specificaly as Saturns then cross-branded the same vehicles so that Saturn was competing with it's own kin. Then GM refused to advertise Saturn while pumping Chevrolet and the other brands, again, ouch. Furthermore, the No Hassle No Haggle approach only works if the price is reasonable to begin with. GM raised the price too high then gave incentives to everyone except Saturn for almost a year. When Saturn started floundering because the cloned-competition was beating them pricewise GM finally allowed incentives.

After years of lack of marketing, too high pricing, mis-management and a lack of unique vehicle line-up GM had already sealed Saturn's fate. Lutz always hated Saturn and contributed more to it's demise than to refresh it. Now, if Jean-Luc would actually do his homework and speak in the "present tense" the Penske deal is already under-way and as been reported weeks ago is scheduled to be finalized sometime around September.

Make it so, Number One.

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Old 08-13-2009, 07:15 AM   #4
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Default Re: Did Saturn Move Up Market too Fast?

Saturn moved too fast? What?

Seriously...did I just read this?

If anything...Saturn moved too S-L-O-W...

I do love my Saturns, but the introduction of the some of the lines for the car were too late to the market, while people that enjoyed Saturn had to "Wait" for a Newer model to hit, they went shopping elsewhere and purchased something other than a Saturn/GM product....

Let's look at it:

S-Series: No redesign until 1995 and 1996....5 years after the car was first introduced.

RELAY: The minivan that tried....horribly. Too little too late. By the time Saturn introduced the RELAY---guess what? NOBODY wanted one.

Outlook and VUE: The Original Spring Hill VUE was the one to own...but even in 2002....why not sooner? The Outlook is a rehashed Acadia...no originality there.

SKY: Too late to the market in my opinion. It would have been nice to see a convertible AT LEAST for the last two years of the S-Series Production.

L-Series: Maybe if it would have come out before 2002, maybe 2 years earlier, maybe it would have had stronger sales.

Astra and Aura: Again...maybe if they were introduced sooner, maybe the sales would have been stronger.

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Old 08-13-2009, 08:52 AM   #5
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Default Re: Did Saturn Move Up Market too Fast?

Yes, Saturn moved up too fast. In the early years with the SL and SW series, Saturn had a niche. Good cars, good service, and fuel efficient. They weren't trying to eclipse Olds or Buick in products. Saturn was providing good products at a good price that were made here in the States.

The move to include the cross-overs (VUE) was good. It filled a need in the market in the early part of this decade. The continued use of Opel parts and designs as a basis for Saturn products was not a drawback.

But, things went downhill when the brand became indistinguishable from its GM stablemates: the vans, the roadsters, the larger SUVs. Even Chevy lifting the VUE into the Equinox. Saturn losts its identity.

I hope Roger Penske can take Saturn back to its roots. We need smaller fuel efficient cars. Bring back the polymer sides too! (Aren't they on the current Corvettes?)

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Old 08-13-2009, 10:08 AM   #6
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Default Re: Did Saturn Move Up Market too Fast?

Quote:
Originally Posted by VTchemist View Post
Yes, Saturn moved up too fast. In the early years with the SL and SW series, Saturn had a niche. Good cars, good service, and fuel efficient. They weren't trying to eclipse Olds or Buick in products. Saturn was providing good products at a good price that were made here in the States.

The move to include the cross-overs (VUE) was good. It filled a need in the market in the early part of this decade. The continued use of Opel parts and designs as a basis for Saturn products was not a drawback.

But, things went downhill when the brand became indistinguishable from its GM stablemates: the vans, the roadsters, the larger SUVs. Even Chevy lifting the VUE into the Equinox. Saturn losts its identity.

I hope Roger Penske can take Saturn back to its roots. We need smaller fuel efficient cars. Bring back the polymer sides too! (Aren't they on the current Corvettes?)
Saturn never had a van per-se... there's a difference between a minivan and a full size van

The VUE was it's own design.... and only SUV, until the Outlook..

Saturn only had the SKY...

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Old 08-13-2009, 10:13 AM   #7
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Default Re: Did Saturn Move Up Market too Fast?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
Saturn moved too fast? What?

Seriously...did I just read this?

If anything...Saturn moved too S-L-O-W...

I do love my Saturns, but the introduction of the some of the lines for the car were too late to the market, while people that enjoyed Saturn had to "Wait" for a Newer model to hit, they went shopping elsewhere and purchased something other than a Saturn/GM product....

Let's look at it:

S-Series: No redesign until 1995 and 1996....5 years after the car was first introduced.


RELAY: The minivan that tried....horribly. Too little too late. By the time Saturn introduced the RELAY---guess what? NOBODY wanted one.

Outlook and VUE: The Original Spring Hill VUE was the one to own...but even in 2002....why not sooner? The Outlook is a rehashed Acadia...no originality there.

SKY: Too late to the market in my opinion. It would have been nice to see a convertible AT LEAST for the last two years of the S-Series Production.

L-Series: Maybe if it would have come out before 2002, maybe 2 years earlier, maybe it would have had stronger sales.

Astra and Aura: Again...maybe if they were introduced sooner, maybe the sales would have been stronger.
saturn does move a little slow then thas no more major redisgns after that, just the center desh and see through head lamps

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Old 08-13-2009, 10:34 AM   #8
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Default Re: Did Saturn Move Up Market too Fast?

Other brands that have moved upmarket, like Hyundai, never abandoned their original economy car roots in the process. Saturn failed to keep offering cars to its original customers while expanding its lineup.

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Old 08-16-2009, 07:58 AM   #9
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Default Re: Did Saturn Move Up Market too Fast?

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Originally Posted by VTHokie00SL2 View Post
Other brands that have moved upmarket, like Hyundai, never abandoned their original economy car roots in the process. Saturn failed to keep offering cars to its original customers while expanding its lineup.
Dead on VT. Their customers could easily make the transition from Accent to Elantra to Sonata as those lines were clearly defined and incrementally more expensive.

People like to argue the standard equipment of the Astra and the optioned ION price is similar. No one looked at it that way. They saw $20,000 Astras that were formerly $14,000 IONs on the lot. At least that's what I discovered, and a very significant lack of choice.

Then there was the AURA 4cyl and the rebates that put it in close proximity to the Astra, well before GM started knocking anything off the Astra's price. People saw more car for almost the same money and fuel efficiency.

And the SKY, well.... if you're going to move "upscale" you think maybe they could have planned on that "premium image" bringing in a profit rather than a $10,000 loss on every one sold ?

What a mess. I hope Penske can straighten it out and redefine Saturn's market position.

Not every brand needs to go "upscale".

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Old 08-13-2009, 11:46 AM   #10
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Default Re: Did Saturn Move Up Market too Fast?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
If anything...Saturn moved too S-L-O-W...
Their hands were tied by the parent company, who held back development funds for a six-cylinder SL3 model and a minivan that would have taken its styling from the CV1 concept.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
I do love my Saturns, but the introduction of the some of the lines for the car were too late to the market, while people that enjoyed Saturn had to "Wait" for a Newer model to hit, they went shopping elsewhere and purchased something other than a Saturn/GM product....
Agreed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
S-Series: No redesign until 1995 and 1996....5 years after the car was first introduced.
There were more enhancements in the first five years of S-Series than in the last. The Ecotec engine should have been part of the 2000 MY refresh, since it was available in the L-Series. I think that would have helped keep the S fresh for a while longer. Instead they waited for the launch of the ION to certify the Ecotec for Saturn compact car duty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
RELAY: The minivan that tried....horribly. Too little too late. By the time Saturn introduced the RELAY---guess what? NOBODY wanted one.
It didn't help that the Relay had three nearly identical twins and that the GM entry wasn't even class-competitive. Chrysler and Honda ruled this roost and Toyota was a formidable challenger to the throne.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
Outlook and VUE: The Original Spring Hill VUE was the one to own...but even in 2002....why not sooner? The Outlook is a rehashed Acadia...no originality there.
The original plan was to introduce the Outlook as a Pontiac (Banner). They gave it to Saturn almost as an afterthought upon realizing the last Pontiac crossover wasn't so well-received, never mind having three versions of Lambda under the same dealership's roof.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
SKY: Too late to the market in my opinion. It would have been nice to see a convertible AT LEAST for the last two years of the S-Series Production.
It would have cost money to make a Saturn-only roadster and you can bet Chevy would have wanted it first. There's a reason the Sky looks like a Corvette.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
L-Series: Maybe if it would have come out before 2002, maybe 2 years earlier, maybe it would have had stronger sales.
L-Series debuted in the summer of 1999 as a 2000 model. There were two generations: the wedge-shape 2000-2002 and the boxier 2003-2005.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
Astra and Aura: Again...maybe if they were introduced sooner, maybe the sales would have been stronger.
The Aura is a gem that Chevy cribbed for the more-successful Malibu. Astra would have made a better Pontiac, I'm afraid. Being a low-volume niche vehicle, it did not achieve the desired sales/profit impact. I wish Saturn the best under Penske.


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Old 08-14-2009, 11:08 PM   #11
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Default Re: Did Saturn Move Up Market too Fast?

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Originally Posted by Charlie View Post
A new feeditems entry has been added:

Did Saturn Move Up Market too Fast?
I think the problem started when Saturn started re-badging other GM vehicles. like the Relay. yikes. I remember the hype before the Relay came out, then it came out and I was like "eew". Who signed off on that thing??

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Old 08-15-2009, 10:24 AM   #12
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Default Re: Did Saturn Move Up Market too Fast?

i think too many didnt even know that saturn was a high buck car. they still thought of it like the old saturn.

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Old 08-16-2009, 12:10 AM   #13
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Default Re: Did Saturn Move Up Market too Fast?

Saturn was simply out of its swin lane. Better yet, GM really never gave it one after the S-series cars.

Another sad fact is GM still hasn't came up with something to replace it bread and butter car Impala

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Old 08-16-2009, 07:37 AM   #14
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Default Re: Did Saturn Move Up Market too Fast?

Saturn really went away when GM pulled it in the divisional umbrella with the other brands. It lost its individuality and became just another GM car. I do agree that Saturn had some of the best "GM" cars in its lineup just before the Penske buyout, but they were just another GM division vying for product. I think it was preordained from that moment that Saturn was redundant and would eventually go away. After all, it was conceived by Roger Smith--he was politically incorrect (remember the Michael Moore movie?) and when he left--Saturn was doomed.

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