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Old 06-11-2003, 08:24 AM   #1
Jeff P
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Default Not good

So Ion sales are down 44% compared to last year's S-series sales for last month. That is awful. They're practically giving them away with the big incentives and 0% financing too.

On the other hand, the Vue is selling like hotcakes. 54% increase from last year.

Comments? Theories? Suggestions?

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Old 06-11-2003, 08:31 AM   #2
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New model without enough advance publicity & marketing. What publicity it did get was a bad rap from the automotive press.
On the other hand, L-Series were up a couple notches.

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Old 06-11-2003, 09:30 AM   #3
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The characterization of ION sales is a little harsh. May sales were over 10,000 units while the previous months sales were just 4000 units. Actually its all just starting to ramp up. The quad coupe, the excellent crash results, and the award from vision whatever just all mean continued month to month increases.

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Old 06-11-2003, 09:36 AM   #4
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maybe the ion's weirdness is turning off customers? can't blame that on advertising.

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Old 06-11-2003, 10:07 AM   #5
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The S-car last year would have been selling for 10-ish years. The ION hasn't been through it's first model year yet, so of course last year's S-series sales would be higher than the ION at the same time of year-- as the model would have already been established for a decade.

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Old 06-11-2003, 10:33 AM   #6
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Personally, I really think that people avoid first year models. I always will, just because they aren't proven yet. The changes that are coming probably won't hurt either.

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Old 06-11-2003, 10:37 AM   #7
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Well Honda is selling more '03 Accords than they were '02 Accords last year. Toyota sold 36,000 Corollas, up 27% from last year. I don't think a blanket statement that a new model won't immediately sell as well as the previous model holds up. If anything, a new and improved model should outsell the previous model.

Good point about the Quad Coupe. Only seen a few of those on the road so far, so the numbers should improve as sales get up to pace.

I think the (in my opinion) lousy ads, generally poor reviews, and weirdness are probably all conspiring to hurt sales.

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Old 06-11-2003, 12:14 PM   #8
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the Interior and poor reviews.

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Old 06-11-2003, 06:04 PM   #9
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That maybe the reasons.......Interior, poor review and no surprises.

In SUV dominance market, small new car like ION will have a tough time when it doesn't carry enough brand reputation (like Honda, Toyota) and top-graded plastics....

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Old 06-12-2003, 05:29 PM   #10
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I know I wouldn't buy one because of the interior. If it had a normal design, then I'd get one without hesitation.

I think more and more people are going for Japanese cars, though.

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Old 06-12-2003, 07:47 PM   #11
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Personally when i was having my 30,000 mile service on my SC2 done i mosied out for a looksie at the ION . For me the interior just didnt hack it. They should have stuck with the SC /SL models gave us a full insterment package with the onstar system available

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Old 06-13-2003, 02:41 AM   #12
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ION first year sales will not be a good judge overall for the same reason that SAAB sales aren't so hot the first year: They're both quirky cars. By quirky I mean they stand apart from all their competitors in ways that don't put them "above" the fold, but more of a side-step. For example, the IONs center IP, polymer panels, and variety of unusual textures in the dash make it unique, but many find it too unique and uncomfortable to grasp the concept, like the SAAB having the ignition in the center console between the seats.

It's for just these reasons that new models from both companies receive luke-warm receptions from both car reviewers and the general public, but raving fans from brand loyalists.

just my 1.36 cents

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Old 06-13-2003, 07:15 AM   #13
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Actually the new 9-3 is selling very well, 64% increase year to date over last year's model. But you're right about how having too many "unique" features might turn people off, the new 9-3 is a lot more mainstream than the old one, which in addition to the numerous improvements is probably why it's selling so well.

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Old 06-13-2003, 07:40 AM   #14
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Post Re: Not good

Quote:
Originally posted by Jeff P
So Ion sales are down 44% compared to last year's S-series sales for last month. That is awful. They're practically giving them away with the big incentives and 0% financing too.

On the other hand, the Vue is selling like hotcakes. 54% increase from last year.

Comments? Theories? Suggestions?
If you look at the raw numbers provided in Charlie's story, the ION outsold the VUE in May by nearly 4000 units. In fact the L series which is considered to be a slow seller outsold the VUE in raw numbers. Yet a conclusion is drawn that the VUE is selling "like hotcakes". It seems to me that many of these relative conclusions are simply opinions based on random comparisons that various individuals think are important.
At the end of the day, it won't be comparisons to last year's, last month's or other model's sales that count but only the total number of units sold and the profitablity of the model at that particular level of sales. I believe the ION is on track to have a respectable first year but I'm going to withold judgement until the results of the next few critical months are in. At this point however I don't feel there is any reason to panic or consider the ION to be a sales failure.

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Old 06-13-2003, 08:04 AM   #15
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True, the Ion and L did outsell the Vue. But they're supposed to. They are in bigger market segments. In 1994 Saturn sold 286,000 S series cars. This had dropped dramatically down to the 150,000 range by the end of it's run, but it gives you an idea of the numbers they're shooting for. Anyone know what the sales predictions were? I know for the Vue it was 50-60,000 per year range. They're on track to beat the projections with the Vue, I'd be suprised if that was the case with the Ion.

Perhaps it's too early to tell, maybe the Quad Coupe will really sell well and the Redline will provide a halo effect. I guess I was just hoping sales would be good from the get go.

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Old 06-13-2003, 05:49 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jeff P
In 1994 Saturn sold 286,000 S series cars. This had dropped dramatically down to the 150,000 range by the end of it's run, but it gives you an idea of the numbers they're shooting for.
I will be very interested in seeing how many total new Saturns are sold in 2003. I think the total is in some ways more important than the individual model breakdown. In 1994 customers had the choice of three body styles and two engines on one basic platform. Now we have three platforms, still two engines and a much larger choice of styles and grades on each platform. Saturn now has some competition among its own lines for customers who want a Saturn. In the last two Saturns I bought, I comparison shopped Saturn models against each other. In my case a VTi VUE won out over a LW200 and an ION 3 was chosen over an L200. The choice for me was clear but yet close both times. Each one counted however as one new Saturn sold.
If the current sales figures continue at similar rates, the overall company sales should be well over 200,000 units. Although I'm sure the company would like each model to sell higher numbers the grand total may be acceptable in our currently weak economy. We'll better see in another couple of months.

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Old 06-15-2003, 11:13 AM   #17
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i got a sugestoin that i have been saying for years. maby not on this forum but to my friends and stuff. but to do this they would have to bring back the s-series. bring back the 3rd gen sc2 with minor changes ( more agressive style seats for one ) and put a turbo in it wich comes fron factory with around 7 lbs of boost. that would be killer and if they let it put out decient hp , say around 210, and keep it around $20k, they wouldent be able to build them fast enough. it is like the new chevy ss concept. if they keep it how the concept looke they would sell like twinkies around anna nicole. i think they should do that. just my opinin

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Old 06-15-2003, 12:50 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by chance 01-sc2
i got a sugestoin that i have been saying for years. maby not on this forum but to my friends and stuff. but to do this they would have to bring back the s-series. bring back the 3rd gen sc2 with minor changes ( more agressive style seats for one ) and put a turbo in it wich comes fron factory with around 7 lbs of boost. that would be killer and if they let it put out decient hp , say around 210, and keep it around $20k, they wouldent be able to build them fast enough. it is like the new chevy ss concept. if they keep it how the concept looke they would sell like twinkies around anna nicole. i think they should do that. just my opinin

I've also wondered why GM never allowed Saturn to turbo or supercharge an S series car.

It seems like the Red Line Ion will address this need, but it also appears GM is going this direction because they see the econobox tuner market for Honda and because domestic makers like Dodge are making cars like the SRT-4.

Overall I think the halo effect is more important because the level of interest in the more powerful cars is very targetted and unless the Red Line proves itself over time in performance many tuner people will always look at Civic's and other imports that actually created this segment and supported it.

I really like the Saab 9-3, but the crazy thing is the power train as far as the 5 speed auto is exactly the same, without the turbo. The cost is around $30K+.

If the Red Line Ion with a supercharger is $20K and $10K lower than the Saab, then it is quite possible this car will steal sales from other GM brands and cost the company money in the end.

I think this fear is the main reason they skipped on making the S with turbo or a supercharger and GM is not making the Red Line series because of customer desire and they are more reacting to what the competition has already been doing.

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Old 06-15-2003, 02:51 PM   #19
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Just wait until the redline. The ION is a little underpowered compared to most other sedans.

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Old 06-15-2003, 10:20 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by GreyDuck
Just wait until the redline. The ION is a little underpowered compared to most other sedans.
Um... Right. My ION could smoke most other sedans.

Don't blame the ION for the 5 speed auto's shifitng paterns putting it right where a Civic EX sits. That isn't slow by any means, and the manual is a whole different story.

More pessimism from "Saturnfans".

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