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Old 12-01-2006, 04:26 PM   #1
davidsky
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Default are the Aura sales enough

The GM sales reports came out today
link
The Aura sold 4279 in November but was outsold by several niche vehicles like the Hummer H3, Cadillac DTS, and Chevy HHR.
I think the numbers are going to have to come up significantly or the Aura is going to be considered a failure.

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Old 12-01-2006, 05:01 PM   #2
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Default Re: are the Aura sales enough

The Aura, like the rest of Saturn, is the most poorly promoted car line in the US. I've seen really vague national ads, but no local ads, and the is the 5th largest city in the Country (4 million in the metro area). Saturn sits in their little no-haggle world, and lets itself get outpromoted by Kia and Suzuki - what's with that? The Aura is a great new line that raises the bar in its' segment, and most shoppers never heard of it. I went to lunch today with 5 of my car nut buddies, and not one can remember seeing an Aura, and were surprised to see it was a midsize car to compete with Toyota and Honda. When you brag that you are playing in the same arena as Camry and Accord, you'd better strap on your hardware, and Saturn clearly hasn't.

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Old 12-01-2006, 05:06 PM   #3
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Default Re: are the Aura sales enough

GM has opened their eyes to Saturn's potential. Look for an increase in advertising everywhere.

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Old 12-01-2006, 05:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: are the Aura sales enough

Quote:
Originally Posted by Catbert
The Aura, like the rest of Saturn, is the most poorly promoted car line in the US. I've seen really vague national ads, but no local ads, and the is the 5th largest city in the Country (4 million in the metro area). Saturn sits in their little no-haggle world, and lets itself get outpromoted by Kia and Suzuki - what's with that? The Aura is a great new line that raises the bar in its' segment, and most shoppers never heard of it. I went to lunch today with 5 of my car nut buddies, and not one can remember seeing an Aura, and were surprised to see it was a midsize car to compete with Toyota and Honda. When you brag that you are playing in the same arena as Camry and Accord, you'd better strap on your hardware, and Saturn clearly hasn't.
This is the grand total of the new lineup I have seen on the road:

Auras - 1 (and that was about 3 months ago)
SKYs (SKIEs?) - ZERO

Mind you I live in the Greater Phoenix Area (I see you do as well)

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Old 12-01-2006, 05:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: are the Aura sales enough

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsky
The GM sales reports came out today
link
The Aura sold 4279 in November but was outsold by several niche vehicles like the Hummer H3, Cadillac DTS, and Chevy HHR.
I think the numbers are going to have to come up significantly or the Aura is going to be considered a failure.
All the vehicles you listed have been out longer than the Aura. They didn't hit the dealerships until September, and at least in Mpls/St Paul, the ads didn't show up on TV until mid-October.

My dealer says that they're selling several a week, and though I haven't seen any others on the street, there were three lined up for delivery last night.

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Old 12-01-2006, 07:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: are the Aura sales enough

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaturnRaycer
All the vehicles you listed have been out longer than the Aura. They didn't hit the dealerships until September, and at least in Mpls/St Paul, the ads didn't show up on TV until mid-October.
It's also being outsold by the Dodge Nitro and Ford Expedition, both new cars or models.
I do think it's due to a lack of advertising and too little dealerships.

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Old 12-01-2006, 07:37 PM   #7
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Default Re: are the Aura sales enough

Quote:
Originally Posted by Catbert
The Aura, like the rest of Saturn, is the most poorly promoted car line in the US. I've seen really vague national ads, but no local ads, and the is the 5th largest city in the Country (4 million in the metro area).
Your absolutely right about this, I've never either heard on the local radio or watched on TV an ad from the local Saturn dealer. The Honda, Hyundai and Kia dealers are on once an hour yelling about their DEALS, DEALS, DEALS! The ads are annoying but must be effective.
I think the Aura must sell at 10K per month for me to consider it sucessful.

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Old 12-01-2006, 10:32 PM   #8
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Default Re: are the Aura sales enough

I really wouldn't consider the HHR a niche vehicle.

What were November sales for the G6, Malibu, Camry, and Accord? I think 60,000 a year is a lot more reasonable than 120,000 a year as I believe that is how much the Malibu sells.

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Old 12-01-2006, 11:31 PM   #9
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Default Re: are the Aura sales enough

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmhashope
I really wouldn't consider the HHR a niche vehicle.

What were November sales for the G6, Malibu, Camry, and Accord? I think 60,000 a year is a lot more reasonable than 120,000 a year as I believe that is how much the Malibu sells.
G6 was over 10K
Malibu was over 8K- down from 14K last year
Accord 22K
Camry 34k

the best numbers this month were for the GM trucks about 60K combined
ford had 52k for f series

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Old 12-01-2006, 11:32 PM   #10
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Default Re: are the Aura sales enough

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsky
It's also being outsold by the Dodge Nitro and Ford Expedition, both new cars or models.
I do think it's due to a lack of advertising and too little dealerships.
Dodge and Ford are both more established brands in markets like the SUV market. Saturn barely scratched the midsize segment with the L. Plus, the Ford Expedition name has been around for a decade now (time flies... ) and has had way more time to establish.
Saturn has an uphill battle to face; the Aura is...
  • Brand new model, not out too long
  • Brand new model name from make unfamiliar in the segment
  • Limited advertising/marketing
BTW, Saturn projects Aura sales to be 80,000 for the first year, a conservative estimate, since it's so unfamiliar. Sales will rise, as the word of the Aura gets out there and more models are introduced.

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Old 12-02-2006, 12:07 AM   #11
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Default Re: are the Aura sales enough

I've seen zero on the road here in San Diego, but two parked. The parked ones looked great, I stopped and looked them over hopeing I didnt look like a care thief.

I've seen a few magazine ads, but they lack punch. It's like you can hardly notice that a car is in the ad (almost reminds me of the old Infinity ads with flocks of birds, but no car). They not only need to increase advertising, but change the type they do!

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Old 12-02-2006, 12:25 AM   #12
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Default Re: are the Aura sales enough

Watch TV with your wife (or gay friend) and you'll see plenty of Aura ads. Tons of them on the Bravo channel. They are the sort of touchy-feely ads that might have a limited impact. Key themes have people walking around, seeing a Saturn, and saying, "That's a Saturn?" and the "Like Always, Like Never Before" stuff.

It's a tough market, one in which it's very hard to sell at MSRP. Especially since the car, while good, isn't good enough to force import owners to consider it.

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Old 12-02-2006, 12:44 AM   #13
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Default Re: are the Aura sales enough

Quote:
Originally Posted by mkaresh
It's a tough market, one in which it's very hard to sell at MSRP. Especially since the car, while good, isn't good enough to force import owners to consider it.
Tell me how the Aura isn't good enough to get import owners to look at it? As many magazines have said the interior is as good as the Camry or Accord. European exterior. The only cons are for some I could see are the base engine/tranny combo and a few parts of the interior being cheap.

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Old 12-02-2006, 04:20 AM   #14
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Default Re: are the Aura sales enough

Quote:
Originally Posted by mkaresh
It's a tough market, one in which it's very hard to sell at MSRP. Especially since the car, while good, isn't good enough to force import owners to consider it.
There is no single car on the market that is good enough to FORCE anyone to consider it. This has to be the single silliest thing I have heard in months.

The car is certainly good enough that anyone who is not locked into brand loyalty would consider it, providing that they knew about it and that it was a category of vehicle that suits their taste.

If you meant that it could not pry a die hard fan out of their import car, well, golly, I guess it wouldn't.

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Old 12-02-2006, 06:14 AM   #15
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Default Re: are the Aura sales enough

Yep...a pretty ridiculous statement, Karesh...

Lots of us import buyers were swayed because the car is good enough. What are you smokin' tonight man?

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Old 12-02-2006, 08:52 AM   #16
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Default Re: are the Aura sales enough

Quote:
Originally Posted by mkaresh
It's a tough market, one in which it's very hard to sell at MSRP. Especially since the car, while good, isn't good enough to force import owners to consider it.
It's definitely good enough to sway import shoppers, or at least people shopping the other GM cars and Ford, Chrysler. The problem is knowing it exists and finding the Saturn dealer.

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Old 12-02-2006, 09:44 AM   #17
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Default Re: are the Aura sales enough

I think Saturn's biggest problem right now, is it's just not on a lot of "shopping lists". Had my wife not been transferred to run two Saturn dealer's offices, I never would have even considered a Saturn, and it would've been my loss. I love my Aura, but, if my wife didn't have a new Vue as a demo, I would've bought the Vue [utility].

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Old 12-02-2006, 03:51 PM   #18
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Default Re: are the Aura sales enough

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsky View Post
The Honda, Hyundai and Kia dealers are on once an hour yelling about their DEALS, DEALS, DEALS! The ads are annoying but must be effective. I think the Aura must sell at 10K per month for me to consider it sucessful.
I suspect that your notions of success are unrealistic. First- and I readily admit I know nothing about marketing- I would think GM would consider the Aura successful if it:

1) meets reasonable profitability goals;
2) is a modest step toward burnishing the reputation of General Motors with the North American car buying public;
3) limns a path toward which the more mass marketing divisions of GM can go; and
4) appeals to some buyers of imports.

It should surprise nobody on this board that many of us who drive Hondas consider GM- all the Detroit manufacturers, really- to be a purveyor of substandard, unreliable, overpowered behemoths with poor resale value (yeah, I know, thatís not the whole truth, but itís more than a grain of truth). Detroit has richly deserved the reputation it developed over a generation, and it takes time to turn perceptions around. If the Aura can entice some of these Toyota/Honda buyers to purchase a GM product and meet the goals listed above, I suspect Wagoner & Lutz will consider it a success.

Posters on this thread may have a point that Saturn advertising could be improved. I consider myself more or less oblivious and immune to advertising, so perhaps my opinion doesnít count. But there is a market for the less-hyped brand that delivers value in a non-combative environment (although some recent posts on this board have made me wonder how different Saturn dealers really are from the shill at Honest Johnís). I hope Saturn sticks with the no (well, less) haggle sales approach: itís something I count in their favor.

Regarding advertising, Ďfans should bear in mind that Toyota budgeted $170 million for promoting the redesigned 2006 Camry. I think Saturn got $50 million for the Aura rollout- for a car nobody had ever heard of, from a brand everybody had forgotten about. And with approximately 400(?) dealers, thereís no way Aura sales can compete with Camry in terms of sales numbers: Saturn has a long way to go before its numbers can match the Toyota juggernaut. The fact that GM is competing with the best that Japan can offer in mid-size sedans is significant.

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Old 12-02-2006, 04:55 PM   #19
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Default Re: are the Aura sales enough

Quote:
Originally Posted by sherwool View Post
I suspect that your notions of success are unrealistic. First- and I readily admit I know nothing about marketing- I would think GM would consider the Aura successful if it:

1) meets reasonable profitability goals;
2) is a modest step toward burnishing the reputation of General Motors with the North American car buying public;
3) limns a path toward which the more mass marketing divisions of GM can go; and
4) appeals to some buyers of imports.

It should surprise nobody on this board that many of us who drive Hondas consider GM- all the Detroit manufacturers, really- to be a purveyor of substandard, unreliable, overpowered behemoths with poor resale value (yeah, I know, thatís not the whole truth, but itís more than a grain of truth). Detroit has richly deserved the reputation it developed over a generation, and it takes time to turn perceptions around. If the Aura can entice some of these Toyota/Honda buyers to purchase a GM product and meet the goals listed above, I suspect Wagoner & Lutz will consider it a success.

Posters on this thread may have a point that Saturn advertising could be improved. I consider myself more or less oblivious and immune to advertising, so perhaps my opinion doesnít count. But there is a market for the less-hyped brand that delivers value in a non-combative environment (although some recent posts on this board have made me wonder how different Saturn dealers really are from the shill at Honest Johnís). I hope Saturn sticks with the no (well, less) haggle sales approach: itís something I count in their favor.

Regarding advertising, Ďfans should bear in mind that Toyota budgeted $170 million for promoting the redesigned 2006 Camry. I think Saturn got $50 million for the Aura rollout- for a car nobody had ever heard of, from a brand everybody had forgotten about. And with approximately 400(?) dealers, thereís no way Aura sales can compete with Camry in terms of sales numbers: Saturn has a long way to go before its numbers can match the Toyota juggernaut. The fact that GM is competing with the best that Japan can offer in mid-size sedans is significant.
With all due respect, GM needs to do bigger things than "meet reasonable profitability goals" and burnishing reputations. GM is in a fight for its' very life. GM spent a lot of money to develop the Saturn, and needs to promote it to turn a profit, and more importantly, turn heads and let the American public know there is a domestic choice. I'm really puzzled because GM has a winner in the Aura, and seems to want to keep it a secret. Cars, foreign or domestic, don't sell without promotion. Even Corvette, whch sells out its' production every year, advertises mationally and locally. Why does GM set a goal of 80,000 units? That's will ensure it will remain a niche car, and Saturn will fail as a division...which won't hurt the feelings of some old GM hands. I though GM's bonehead days were over - apparently I was wrong. If GM spent $50m on advertising, I'd like to know how they did that.

BTW - I was excited to hear that GM sales were up last month until I heard that car sales were down, and truck sales, led by GMC!, were up about 15%. GM won't make it on truck sales in the long run. They'd better get serious about the American sedan. All this is IMHO, and does not reflect the opinion of anyone of note.

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Old 12-02-2006, 05:29 PM   #20
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Default Re: are the Aura sales enough

I believe the marketing people need to take the gloves off and have direct side to side comparison advertising. Compare it side by side to the Camry, Accord, Altima. Roll the ball bearing down the hood joints, show the superior power plants, show the new interior. It's like GM don't want to upset them. Now that Saturn has a competitive product they need to let everyone know about it.

Even ads like Joe Isuzu made would get some attention...

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