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Old 03-10-2009, 11:44 PM   #1
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Default Jill Lajdziak: Retail Experience Makes the Saturn Difference

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Jill Lajdziak: Retail Experience Makes the Saturn Difference

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From the Hub magazine: Between the time we spoke with Jill Lajdziak and the publication of this interview, General Motors announced plans to close Saturn. Well, here's another news flash: This doesn't necessarily mean the end for Saturn. And it certainly does not change the enlightened view Saturn brings to automotive retailing. Saturn was never designed to be a "luxury" automobile, but you'd never know that while visiting one of its state-of-the-art showrooms.

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Old 03-11-2009, 07:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: Jill Lajdziak: Retail Experience Makes the Saturn Difference

It's no surprise that she's going to focus on the retail experience, because that's all Saturn has left. For me it was always about the product. Frankly, I couldn't care less about the retail experience. I'll put up with a bad dealer in order to get the car I want.

What really made the difference for Saturn was the product coming from Spring Hill. After Saturn lost Spring Hill, it lost its real identity.

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Old 03-11-2009, 08:01 PM   #3
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Default Re: Jill Lajdziak: Retail Experience Makes the Saturn Difference

Doesn't Jill realize that the retail experience doesn't make any difference if the car is sub-standard?

Saturn's cars needs to be better than they were in the 90's. They need to match Honda, Toyota, and Nissan is every respect... Otherwise they are doomed to fail.

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Old 03-11-2009, 08:10 PM   #4
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Arrow Re: Jill Lajdziak: Retail Experience Makes the Saturn Difference

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Doesn't Jill realize that the retail experience doesn't make any difference if the car is sub-standard? Saturn's cars needs to be better than they were in the 90's. They need to match Honda, Toyota, and Nissan is every respect... Otherwise they are doomed to fail.
What makes you think she doesn't realize this? The retail experience is icing on the cake -- Saturn's new lineup can go head-to-head with cars from any of those brands. For once, Saturn has a lineup of critically acclaimed cars and trucks.

Charlie

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Old 03-11-2009, 08:27 PM   #5
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Default Re: Jill Lajdziak: Retail Experience Makes the Saturn Difference

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What makes you think she doesn't realize this? The retail experience is icing on the cake -- Saturn's new lineup can go head-to-head with cars from any of those brands. For once, Saturn has a lineup of critically acclaimed cars and trucks.

Charlie
We'll find out when they announce their new product lineup.

My concern is that manufacturers of class leading vehicles will not sell their product to Saturn.

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Old 03-11-2009, 08:50 PM   #6
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Happy Re: Jill Lajdziak: Retail Experience Makes the Saturn Difference

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For me it was always about the product.
Which is why I'm confused as to why you're so tough on Saturn's current lineup. There have never been safer, better built, or nicer designed products in Saturn showrooms. If you put any of their cars against any of their competitors' models, they hold their own -- and according to a lot of critics, they even beat the competition. Sure, Saturn doesn't have a model for every market segment, but when comparing like-for-like models, today's Saturns do very well.

I know you're upset with GM for stripping Saturn of much of its independence over the years (a lot of us are), but that's water under the bridge at this point. I'm excited about the idea of Saturn getting its independence back again, and I'm surprised you're not too.

There's a lot of concern about the vehicles Saturn would sell as an independent entity, and a lot of harsh criticisms being dished out before we even know what their plans are. Saturn owners have historically been educated and very savvy customers, who research and comparison shop before buying their vehicles. Don't you think Saturn knows that it's doomed to fail if it goes to market with substandard products? Before passing judgment, I'm going to wait to see what their future models look like and how they perform against the competition. Until then, I'm optimistic about the possibility of Saturn returning to its roots and becoming a "different kind of car company" once again.

Charlie

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Old 03-11-2009, 09:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: Jill Lajdziak: Retail Experience Makes the Saturn Difference

The only disappointment I have in the current lineup is the fact that the VUE is manufactured in Mexico.

I was disappointed that the Astra didn't sell. I like the Outlook, SKY, and the Aura.

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Old 03-11-2009, 09:32 PM   #8
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Default Re: Jill Lajdziak: Retail Experience Makes the Saturn Difference

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I'm excited about the idea of Saturn getting its independence back again, and I'm surprised you're not too.
I will be, if somehow it ends up selling American designed and built cars, and not selling cars for some Chinese, Indian, or other foreign manufacturer. If they can add dent resistant body panels, even better! But I just don't see any realistic chance of getting back what's been lost. To me, being a truly American car that could compete with the imports is what Saturn was really about.

As for the current lineup:

I like the Sky. I think it's a cool car, though I doubt I'd buy one. Just not my thing.

The Aura is competitive. (It needs a nav system option, though.) I hate the ungainly headlights and the smiley face looking grille/headlight design, though. But aside from looks, it's a good car. I actually considered its platform mate, the Pontiac G6 (which has better looks, imo).

The Vue I do not like, and not just because it's built in Mexico. I don't like the styling at all. I liked the first generation Vue but I still think the name is stupid! (I absolutely hated the cutesy three letter name thing...glad Saturn abandoned that.)

The Outlook is a really nice vehicle, but at the same time represents what's so wrong with GM/Saturn. It is a cookie cutter rebadge, virtually identical to the GMC Acadia. There's nothing "Saturn" about the Outlook except the badge.

The Astra I don't like, largely because I think it's ugly! But of course styling is subjective. I'm usually not a fan of hatchbacks. I actually think the 2 door Astra is okay looking, the 4 door not so much! Also, it lacks certain features that you can find on a comparably priced Mazda 3.

Also, Saturn needs to make sure its cars get top marks for safety and reliability. It hasn't been consistent. If I look up Subaru's cars on the IIHS website, I'm pretty sure I'll find the entire lineup gets top marks in both the offset frontal and side impact tests. Saturn is hit or miss. Same with reliability. Saturn's products come from all over the place now, and reliability has been hit or miss.

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Last edited by VTHokie00SL2; 03-11-2009 at 09:44 PM..

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Old 03-11-2009, 09:48 PM   #9
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Default Re: Jill Lajdziak: Retail Experience Makes the Saturn Difference

I will say this: The new Opel Insignia is a nice looking car! I wonder if it'll ever find its way to the States now.

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Old 03-11-2009, 10:36 PM   #10
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Default Re: Jill Lajdziak: Retail Experience Makes the Saturn Difference

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I will say this: The new Opel Insignia is a nice looking car! I wonder if it'll ever find its way to the States now.
As the Buick Regal

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Old 03-11-2009, 10:50 PM   #11
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Default Re: Jill Lajdziak: Retail Experience Makes the Saturn Difference

But will people drive 100 miles (or more) just for a "retailer experience?"

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Old 03-11-2009, 11:06 PM   #12
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Default Re: Jill Lajdziak: Retail Experience Makes the Saturn Difference

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But will people drive 100 miles (or more) just for a "retailer experience?"
Exactly, Saturn would have to at least restore dealerships to the regions that have lost it if it manages to survive. (Central New Jersey for instance...Freehold, Brunswick, Eatontown all gone.)

I shouldn't say that I couldn't care less about the dealer experience. But it's not my main concern, obviously.

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Old 03-11-2009, 11:45 PM   #13
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Default Re: Jill Lajdziak: Retail Experience Makes the Saturn Difference

I think I'm sold on AWD. That's something I'll likely look for from now on! Of course, I won't be living in northeast PA for much longer, but whether I'm in a heavy snowfall area or not, I think the superior driving dynamics are worth the small fuel economy hit.

I'm not sold on the new Subaru Legacy though, at least based on the concept. We'll see what the production version looks like next month. I'm also not thrilled with Subaru moving away from conventional automatic transmissions in favor of CVT's. I don't trust CVT's over the long haul.

I really like the looks of the new VW CC, but it's like 40 grand in AWD form! Of course, I might be holding on to my current '07 Legacy for a long time depending on what type of work I can find!

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