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Old 02-05-2007, 01:38 PM   #61
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Default Re: 4102 Sales in January

I continue to read this subject with interest, but sometimes wonder if everybody reads the whole subject from start to latest post or whether they just react to the latest posting. I perceive the ongoing and perpetual rantings of the import vs domestic supporters, the pontiac vs chevrolet (and Saturn?) crowd, but take a second and go back to what i posted on page 1 (posting #14).
Saturn will never be, or was meant to be, a high volume vehicle. GM has stated (I think it was Bob Lutz, but I am not absolutely sure because I no longer have the article) that the target market for Saturn will be the likes of Acura (Honda,s upscale brand). As a target market this makes sense based on the projected volumes for both Aura and Astra.
We can all rationalize that the Aura is not at the same levels of fit and finish, but having owned both (I owned a 2003 Acura TL Type S before the Aura) I can disagree.
The other issue of V6 vs I4. Up until recently, Acura did not have an I4 in their line up in America.
(They did, and still do, have an Acura version of civic in Canada, which is an
I4, which again is aimed at a specific market due to consistenly high gas prices, however, this is premium priced)).
To support a niche market (Technology) Acura went with an I4 in the RDX, but they turbo charged it to, quote "provide the power of a V6".

Saturn may not be fully there yet, compared to the likes of Acura, but neither was Acura (or Infinity, or even Lexus) there either when they started their quest in the early nineties. I believe that GM has finally got the message, and if you believe they haven't, then be sure they will slide into oblivion the same as Ford is now headed, regardless of whether you favor Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick or any other GM brand.

I personally have only one negative about the GM marketing philosophy, and that is 'OnStar'.
The marketplace does not want it in its present form, they want contemporary navigation units the same as provided, as options, by other manufacturers. Maybe they have recognized this also as I understand the outlook/acadia has contemporary navigation systems, as options.
If they do continue to market 'Onstar', they need to make it an option, I did not want it (nor did I want sattelite radio) but I got them both, whether I wanted them or not. In my mind that means that I paid for something I did not want, nor are likely to use, what a waste!
However, I still bought the car!


The customer is always right, so do it right the first time!!

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Old 02-05-2007, 03:28 PM   #62
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Default Re: 4102 Sales in January

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I personally have only one negative about the GM marketing philosophy, and that is 'OnStar'.
The marketplace does not want it in its present form, they want contemporary navigation units the same as provided, as options, by other manufacturers. Maybe they have recognized this also as I understand the outlook/acadia has contemporary navigation systems, as options.
If they do continue to market 'Onstar', they need to make it an option, I did not want it (nor did I want sattelite radio) but I got them both, whether I wanted them or not. In my mind that means that I paid for something I did not want, nor are likely to use, what a waste!
Interesting. I too have raved at GM for insisting on installing ONstar in every New GM vehicle, and won't even consider purchasing one with it.

When I rant...I get responces like "Whats the big deal, its free." or when I express other concerns about the possible abuse of this system, I am told I am parnoid.

Well, as you so easy saw and pointed out, it is certainly NOT free, and there is no way to opt out of having the system installed in the vehicle...so the buyer IS paying for it ( the equipment) whether he / she activates or uses it or not.

Yet another change that could be made to reduce the MSRP if you ask me!

Interesting too that they are insisting installing it on the ASTRA now that it is being imported....too bad, I was almost enthusiastic about that little Opel till GM had to ruin it. Can't get one without the ONstar system installed in it? Guess I'll get something else then.

...
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Old 02-05-2007, 03:37 PM   #63
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Default Re: 4102 Sales in January

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Interesting. I too have raved at GM for insisting on installing ONstar in every New GM vehicle, and won't even consider purchasing one with it.

When I rant...I get responces like "Whats the big deal, its free." or when I express other concerns about the possible abuse of this system, I am told I am parnoid.

Well, as you so easy saw and pointed out, it is certainly NOT free, and there is no way to opt out of having the system installed in the vehicle...so the buyer IS paying for it ( the equipment) whether he / she activates or uses it or not.

Yet another change that could be made to reduce the MSRP if you ask me!

Interesting too that they are insisting installing it on the ASTRA now that it is being imported....too bad, I was almost enthusiastic about that little Opel till GM had to ruin it. Can't get one without the ONstar system installed in it? Guess I'll get something else then.
If the feature really is such a big deal-breaker to you, and it sounds like it is. Ask your selling dealer to order one with the "onstar delete option"
That can be done you however if I was going to do this myself I would ask for a hefty deposit so you don't back out of a car the majority wouldn't want...

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Old 02-05-2007, 03:53 PM   #64
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Default Re: 4102 Sales in January

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If the feature really is such a big deal-breaker to you, and it sounds like it is. Ask your selling dealer to order one with the "onstar delete option"
That can be done you however if I was going to do this myself I would ask for a hefty deposit so you don't back out of a car the majority wouldn't want...

FYI: LESS than 50% (43% as last I knew) of people continue Onstar service after the free trial period expires....that would mean the "majority" (greater than 50%) DO NOT want Onstar.

...
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Old 02-05-2007, 04:08 PM   #65
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Default Re: 4102 Sales in January

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FYI: LESS than 50% (43% as last I knew) of people continue Onstar service after the free trial period expires....that would mean the "majority" (greater than 50%) DO NOT want Onstar.
But from an economics standpoint, it doesn't matter if the majority don't use it. If GM is covering the cost of the equipment and first year with the vehicle sale price, then the people who continue to subscribe are simply gravy every year from then on out. Subscription based services are huge money makers for all technology companies these days.

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Old 02-05-2007, 04:14 PM   #66
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Default Re: 4102 Sales in January

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Originally Posted by cdp326 View Post
As for price, what exactly does everyone contend they do to lower the price? What do you think they can decontent without adversely affecting something that has garnered praise for the Aura?
They could save a couple bucks by eliminating the useless, gaudy chrome cladding on the outside of the car! Normal sized headlight fixtures might be a little cheaper, too!

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Old 02-05-2007, 04:22 PM   #67
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Default Re: 4102 Sales in January

Quote:
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FYI: LESS than 50% (43% as last I knew) of people continue Onstar service after the free trial period expires....that would mean the "majority" (greater than 50%) DO NOT want Onstar.
Chet Huber is selling safety, security and peace of mind. And, he says, people are buying.

Huber is the president of OnStar, General Motors' telematics unit. He offers three reasons for his claim: more than 2.5 million paying customers, renewal rates above 50 percent and financial profitability.

"The way this is being positioned is not as a substitute for mobile phones,'' Huber says. "This is a peace- of-mind positioning.''

My point is it's over 50 percent. At my store itself the number is closer to 75%. The number will get higher as Onstar gains marketshare and lowers the rates as well (I had someone mention that me)

All I have to do is mention the time when my neighbor wrecked her Caddy down into a ravine and blacked out, EMS was there within a half hour. The next question is "where do I sign"....

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Old 02-05-2007, 04:40 PM   #68
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Default Re: 4102 Sales in January

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That pretty much says it all....you just don't get it.

The V-6 is NOT "the problem" the PRICE is.
No, you're the one that doesn't get it.
There isn't much they could take off from the Aura and take a lot off of the price. They'd probably have to resort to cheaper materials if they wanted to, which would be a bad idea (especially when all the materials aren't perfect as it stands).
You're assuming an I4 Aura would most definitely be cheaper, simply because the powertrain exists. You don't compare the cost to make of the I4 Ecotec vs. the 3.5L V6.
The '08 VUE offers the 2.4L Ecotec as the XE FWD engine, and the 3.5L V6 as the XE AWD engine.
Here's what I'm saying, lest you try to put words in my posts:
  • The I4 Aura wouldn't be hard or cost-consuming to produce, as the powertrain exists and is in similar models.
  • At the same time, the V6 isn't hard to implement either, as the platform mates use the powertrain as well. So, both are equally easy to do; the platform was designed for both. I've never contested that.
  • There will be a price disparity between the 2008 VUE XE FWD and AWD models, but they can't have a huge disparity because then people would skip the AWD since it's out of their price range. What price disparity do you think there is between the I4 and 3.5L V6, regardless of vehicle? If the AWD mechanicals themselves are $1500-2000, an additional $1000-2000 (if your "I4 cost" were true) would doom it from the start. The cost difference between the I4 and OHV V6 is narrow; if the OHV V6 were as much more to produce as you claim it is, an AWD XE VUE would be as much as a FWD XR, where the AWD XE would be rendered pointless. Maybe...just maybe...you'll understand.

Quote:
Go buy a Malibu? Why not a Camry or Accord? Or a Sonata for that matter.
They're all good cars. The Sonata is a great value--the Sonata SE can run with any of its closest V6 rivals yet is a couple grand cheaper. That said, they're not flying off the lots, with a lot of fleet sales. It's gotten plenty of advertising, too.
(An important thing to note is that these GM cars are at least capable of competing with the CamCord. By now, it's the perception...and you have to overcome a perception before you even get to the features and specs.)

Quote:
You are assuming that a lost AURA customer will migrate only to another GM brand...not the case...and THAT is the point.
No, I'm not, I'm only stating it. Besides, everyone makes out the Aura and Malibu to be rebadges....

Quote:
Which is, now repeated ad-nauseum, that the AURA is too limited in its powertrain and options packages, and that, along with less than #1 MPG, 0-60 (if you must) or #1 anything for that matter, has, and will, retard sales.
The powertrains could be fine--you said yourself earlier that the V6 isn't the problem. A 6-speed automatic would raise MPG, would be a great selling point over the competition, and overall has no bad effects. The only problem I could see is the cost of the 6-speed vs. the 4. Maybe they're using the Aura to drain out the supply for the 4-speeds until they have enough 6-speeds (kinda like the Grand Prix, Lacrosse, and Lucerne with the 3800 V6).
Raising the MPG is IMO the first step. It won't take much to broaden the option package range (although Honda has always been limited in their feature selections and always pushing the top of the sales charts).

Quote:
You can bring back Elvis from the dead, and use whatever magic ad campaign you want, but when the shopper shows up in the showroom...that reality is still there.
You're not going to get anywhere without shoppers in the showroom in the first place, which is the Aura's biggest issue. Perhaps you think the Aura should be selling itself?

...
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Old 02-05-2007, 05:51 PM   #69
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Default Re: 4102 Sales in January

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They could save a couple bucks by eliminating the useless, gaudy chrome cladding on the outside of the car! Normal sized headlight fixtures might be a little cheaper, too!
They could have made traction control (XE), stability control (XR), and ABS optional and used rear drum brakes, but somehow I don't think you'd share the same sentiments about that, would you?

I don't think the problem is the OnStar itself, it's the idea of paying for it. A lot of people like the idea of OnStar, but don't want to pay for it.

...
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Old 02-05-2007, 05:53 PM   #70
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Default Re: 4102 Sales in January

Skyguy 10066;
How does the "Onstar deletion option " work ? Does the buyer get a credit ?
We don't have such a thing in Canada for the Aura as far as I know. Onstar is standard and is included in the price. Would sure be nice to be able to buy an Aura without Onstar and get price reduction.

This policy contrasts with Saab 9-3 which is in same showroom as Saturn in Canada. Saab has Onstar as an option at about 1K Cdn.(about $800 US).

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Old 02-05-2007, 06:11 PM   #71
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Default Re: 4102 Sales in January

A few thougts:

VOLUME: There no reason for anyone to panic yet. The start is is actually pretty similar to what Pontiac saw with the G6 and Mazda saw with the 6. Both had good early reviews, but didn't exactly break out of the gate with strong sales. Six months after launch everyone was wondering if the vehicles would be failures. Sound familiar? By the second model year they were both clicking along strongly. The Aura hasn't even been thru the historically strong summer selling season yet. I think things will look better for the Aura in terms of volume this time next year. The only concern I have is whether Saturn can afford to continue to market the Aura strong enough while simultaniously effectively launching the Outlook and redesigned VUE.

FOUR CYLINDER: Mark my words, a 4-cylinder Aura model (besides the Greenline) is coming soon. It is documented in a recent GM fleet guide. As some have hinted the ecotec isn't appreciably cheaper to build than the "high value" V6, but I suspect Saturn is planning to trim their margins on the 4 to get the base price competitive with the entry level Accord and Camry. I don't know if a cheaper base model is the answer or not, but the lack of a 4 cylinder won't be a viable excuse next model year.

NAVIGATION: I wouldn't be surprised to see a screen-based navigation system available in the future. That said, many people are unaware that the Aura already comes standard with the hardware neccesary for OnStar Turn-by-Turn navigation. Even some people who own Auras. Some work needs to be done by all parties (GM, OnStar, Saturn, and the retailers) to get the word out. I've driven a few vehicles with screen-based navigation systems and personally find them dangerously distracting. A voice-driven alternative, if properly presented, could actually be a competitive advantage.

ONSTAR: As far as I know, the OnStar delete is only availabe for fleet orders. It may be a $850 option in some other GM models, but the per-unit actual cost when you make it standard on every retail car you build is obviously substantially less than that. Yeah, there are some people who resent having there because they won't use it and think the car would be cheaper without it. Same goes for virtually every piece of standard equipment. Somewhere there is somebody *****ing that they should be able to get an Aura without AC because they don't use it. I think in the long run having standard OnStar give Saturn a competitive advantage that earns them more sales than they lose because of the incremental costs and/or the paranoid "big brother can watch me" types.

Last edited by gary p; 02-05-2007 at 06:26 PM..

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Old 02-05-2007, 06:25 PM   #72
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Default Re: 4102 Sales in January

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Skyguy 10066;
How does the "Onstar deletion option " work ? Does the buyer get a credit ?
We don't have such a thing in Canada for the Aura as far as I know. Onstar is standard and is included in the price. Would sure be nice to be able to buy an Aura without Onstar and get price reduction.

This policy contrasts with Saab 9-3 which is in same showroom as Saturn in Canada. Saab has Onstar as an option at about 1K Cdn.(about $800 US).
I remember seeing it in "Deaelrworld" as an option involving a dealerlocate (when we need to find you a car from another store) And in the past it was in delaerworld as an option to delete as well. I can say that I doubt that there is a credit for not ordering the option though....

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Old 02-05-2007, 07:27 PM   #73
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Default Re: 4102 Sales in January

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I will make a prediction here and now. Within 2 years, you will see Saturns sold at other GM dealers, and other GM brands sold at Saturn.
That would indeed be a good trick to pull that off. Many Saturn stores are already owned by dealerships that sell other GM and non-GM makes so it is already only a limited piece of real estate that is exclusively Saturn not the owners or the parent dealerships. Given this emphasis on separate real estate locations most Saturn stores are already too small to adequately display all Saturn products much less take on other brands. I can see a day possibly come when GM combines it brands, takes advantage of business organizations that already exist, and uses a customer friendly Saturn approach to sales and service. I highly doubt however that will happen at existing Saturn locations.

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Old 02-05-2007, 08:12 PM   #74
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Default Re: 4102 Sales in January

Gary P - do you know if the GM fleet guide has anything about the Aura Redline coming out later this year? I have seen conflicting comments on whether it will be an '08 or '09.
I hope you are right when you compare the Aura with the G6 and Mazda 6 which have both done well on latest sales figures.

Saturn need to advertise the Outlook and Aura heavily in the first half of the year as Q3 will be needed for the Vue and Q4 for the Astra.

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Old 02-05-2007, 08:41 PM   #75
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Default Re: 4102 Sales in January

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Skyguy 10066;

This policy contrasts with Saab 9-3 which is in same showroom as Saturn in Canada. Saab has Onstar as an option at about 1K Cdn.(about $800 US).
Sounds like a quick way to drop the US price of an AURA to me, and by $800. (Oh, but wait, that Onstar stuff is "free" right...)

Now lets add in an optional I4 with automatic transaxle.. the 2.2 Ecotec from the VUE or ION will do...seeing as how they won't be needed anymore in a month... Based on the ~$1500 cheaper price of a I4 VUE compared to a V6 thats another $1500 savings.

Now we've saved $2300 without even really trying....and given customers a lot more options to choose from...icluding the ability to buy an AURA for UNDER $18K....

and the cost to GM? $0.

Quote:
Originally Posted by john10
That would indeed be a good trick to pull that off. Many Saturn stores are already owned by dealerships that sell other GM and non-GM makes so it is already only a limited piece of real estate that is exclusively Saturn not the owners or the parent dealerships. Given this emphasis on separate real estate locations most Saturn stores are already too small to adequately display all Saturn products much less take on other brands. I can see a day possibly come when GM combines it brands, takes advantage of business organizations that already exist, and uses a customer friendly Saturn approach to sales and service. I highly doubt however that will happen at existing Saturn locations.
Saturns were / are sold in Canada at Saturn / Saab / Isuzu dealers. (That is where the SSI in SSIcarman comes from by the way) and GM still has a few Oldsmobile dealerships sitting vacant, and a few more that have only GMC with the loss of Olds. Its is not that great a stretch to think that Saturns will be sold along side their other GM kin. Especially when one considers the Astra...an OPEL.. OPEL was sold by BUICK dealers back in the 60's-70's.

With the (reality folks) loss of one price selling and (I know it hurts but it is true) No Hassle no Haggle at Saturn stores, what is really left to prevent this from happening? The Saturn "dealership expirence" died a long time ago. It is now a watered-down version that is being emulated by practically everyone, and adapted at will to suit the moods or whims of Saturn dealers everywhere. One needs only look at the Sky price gouging fiasco to see I am not making this stuff up.

...
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Old 02-05-2007, 10:55 PM   #76
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Default Re: 4102 Sales in January

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Now lets add in an optional I4 with automatic transaxle.. the 2.2 Ecotec from the VUE or ION will do...seeing as how they won't be needed anymore in a month... Based on the ~$1500 cheaper price of a I4 VUE compared to a V6 thats another $1500 savings.
Why do you insist on assuming the Aura XE drivetrain (12 valves, 1 camshaft, OHV, and 4 speed automatic) costs no more than the FWD V6 VUE drivetrain (Honda sourced, 24 valves, 4 overhead camshafts, and 5 speed automatic)? The comparable drivetrain in the Aura line to the Honda V6/5spd is the XR drivetrain. Would you be satisfied with a $22495 4 cylinder, 4 speed XR?

Last edited by gary p; 02-05-2007 at 11:08 PM..

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Old 02-05-2007, 11:33 PM   #77
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Default Re: 4102 Sales in January

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Its is not that great a stretch to think that Saturns will be sold along side their other GM kin.
Yes I do know how it works in Canada but I believe most of those facilities were built with the multiple use intended. I guess I didn't make my point clearly but that is also already happening in many of the more populated areas down here where mega dealerships under single ownership sell multiple brands. What is different is that the Saturns in the US are sold in free standing buildings which generally tend to be smaller in square footage than other GM stores. Often this Saturn building is located near a commonly owned other GM brand's store but the Saturn facility is designed as a self contained and uniquely identified unit.

I certainly can see a possibility of Saturns someday being sold out of other GM facilities but I don't see Saturn stores selling other GM products unless they decide to tear down most of the existing US stores and re-build much larger facilities. Given the more pressing needs of GM capital to increase Saturn product lines and retool Spring Hill I just don't see GM or the dealers doing that in the two year time frame you originally predicted.

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Old 02-05-2007, 11:37 PM   #78
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2001 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Re: 4102 Sales in January

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Originally Posted by wolfman View Post
Sounds like a quick way to drop the US price of an AURA to me, and by $800. (Oh, but wait, that Onstar stuff is "free" right...)

Now lets add in an optional I4 with automatic transaxle.. the 2.2 Ecotec from the VUE or ION will do...seeing as how they won't be needed anymore in a month... Based on the ~$1500 cheaper price of a I4 VUE compared to a V6 thats another $1500 savings.

Now we've saved $2300 without even really trying....and given customers a lot more options to choose from...icluding the ability to buy an AURA for UNDER $18K....

and the cost to GM? $0.


Saturns were / are sold in Canada at Saturn / Saab / Isuzu dealers. (That is where the SSI in SSIcarman comes from by the way) and GM still has a few Oldsmobile dealerships sitting vacant, and a few more that have only GMC with the loss of Olds. Its is not that great a stretch to think that Saturns will be sold along side their other GM kin. Especially when one considers the Astra...an OPEL.. OPEL was sold by BUICK dealers back in the 60's-70's.

With the (reality folks) loss of one price selling and (I know it hurts but it is true) No Hassle no Haggle at Saturn stores, what is really left to prevent this from happening? The Saturn "dealership expirence" died a long time ago. It is now a watered-down version that is being emulated by practically everyone, and adapted at will to suit the moods or whims of Saturn dealers everywhere. One needs only look at the Sky price gouging fiasco to see I am not making this stuff up.
There's a lot in this post that I agree with. The Saturn dealership in the northern part of Orlando gives you the feeling that they want you out of there as soon as possible. That applies to both their sales and service department. The only thing that keeps me coming there is the fact that many parts on my L100 remain "dealer only" 7 years after the car began production. What a farce.

I don't necessarily agree that the difference between manufacturing the 4 cyl and the corporate 3.5 L mill is $1500, but they could offer a 170 HP 2.4L version if it was desired. The actual difference may be as little as $300.00. It should, however, come with a 5 speed manual. That could cut the cost by another $200.00. For the purposes of comparison, I won't include that.

I like the idea of getting rid of ABS/Traction control and side airbags. Other than safety, they add little value to the overall driving experience. In 20 years of driving, I have locked the wheels up twice. Even there, I was able to come to a semi-controlled stop. It is doubtful that ABS reduced my stopping distance, as I was on dry pavement. Hence, the feature is of little use to me. Deleting these "options" would likely save another $400.00.

As far as the airbags go, there is little evidence to suggest curtain airbags have saved an appreciable number of lives or prevented injury. I couldn't justify the added cost of these items. It is too bad that I have to pay for them.

Same goes for On-Star. I would love to get a price reduction of some kind, even if it was only $400.00. I don't want it. I don 't need it. Give mine to someone who cares.

Even a $1100 difference as shown would help bring the car nearer to affordability.

Current cost: $20,995
After sensible deletions: $19,995

Not great, but a start. With my Saturn loyalty discount, I can shave another 500 bucks off.

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Old 02-06-2007, 12:32 AM   #79
gary p
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Default Re: 4102 Sales in January

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Originally Posted by L100 View Post
I like the idea of getting rid of ABS/Traction control and side airbags. Other than safety, they add little value to the overall driving experience. In 20 years of driving, I have locked the wheels up twice. Even there, I was able to come to a semi-controlled stop. It is doubtful that ABS reduced my stopping distance, as I was on dry pavement. Hence, the feature is of little use to me. Deleting these "options" would likely save another $400.00.

As far as the airbags go, there is little evidence to suggest curtain airbags have saved an appreciable number of lives or prevented injury. I couldn't justify the added cost of these items. It is too bad that I have to pay for them.
For everyone who won't buy an Aura because they don't think they should have to pay for these safety features there are ten people who won't consider a car in the Aura's class without them as standard. Personally I share some of your sentiments. But the market reality is that ABS and side aribags are considered the bare minimum safety items by the vast majority of the buying public any more. We get hammered all the time on the sales floor about charging $395 for side airbags on the VUE; virtually all of our competitors now offer it as standard equipment.

Stripping safety items that are standard on the Accord, Camry, Altima, Sonata, Sebring, Passat, Fusion, etc to be able to drop our base price $1000 isn't gonna make the Aura a winner in the market place. For crying out loud, even the $11000 Kia Rio now comes with 6 airbags.

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Old 02-06-2007, 12:34 AM   #80
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Default Re: 4102 Sales in January

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Why do you insist on assuming the Aura XE drivetrain (12 valves, 1 camshaft, OHV, and 4 speed automatic) costs no more than the FWD V6 VUE drivetrain (Honda sourced, 24 valves, 4 overhead camshafts, and 5 speed automatic)? The comparable drivetrain in the Aura line to the Honda V6/5spd is the XR drivetrain. Would you be satisfied with a $22495 4 cylinder, 4 speed XR?
Why do you insist that it can't?

You have to remember that a V6 requires more raw materials, more machining and just plain more parts and LABOR to produce than nearly any 4 cylinder.


As an example, I paid ~$18,200 for my 2005 FWD VUE

2.2L Ecotech I4, Automatic, ABS with Traction control, PW, PDL, RKE, CC, AC, etc...NO ONSTAR.

Allowing for 1.5 years at 3% inflation, that would be around ~$19,500 now.

Please explain (if you can) why I could not buy a similiarly equiped AURA for at or near the same money...? Especially when you consider that the AURA does not have those "expensive" polymer panels.....

I'd be "satisfied" with an 4 cylinder automatic Aura with NO ONSTAR, and the equipment listed above for under $19k, and I'd be willing to bet a lot of others would too.

I am also eagerly awaiting the IIHS offset crash tests for an AURA. It almost seems like Saturn won't sell them one......

...
Old Saturns never die, people KILL them, so check your damn oil!
"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth." Albert Einstein

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