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Old 06-20-2000, 12:06 PM   #1
Docmhz
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Default Saturn Changes Name of LSeries

Just got word over saturnstores.com that Saturn has officially changed the names of the L series for the 2001 model year. The renaming is as follows: LS=L100, LS1=L200, LS2=L300, LW1=LW200, and LW2=LW300. Hopefully this will correct the dyslexia that the LS SL names incurred. Also some changes for the 2001's were released to retailers today. On the L series: Black leather will be an option on L200 and L300, a new alloy wheel will be available on the L300, as well as the color changes and the side airbags as everyone knows. The airbags will not be available initially. On the S series: The SL is now called the Value Leader and now has standard power steering, right side mirror and colored bumpers. It will still be offered in 4 colors only. The SL2 power package is not including the alloy wheels anymore and the SC2's now have a 16" wheel and tire upgrade. I'm not sure of pricing yet but will post when I get it.

Matt Plunkett

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Old 06-20-2000, 01:06 PM   #2
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Now they are named like trucks! L100 L200 L300. The Saturn L200, Sounds neat...
Let's all say it out loud. "El Two-hundred"
Nice.

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Old 06-20-2000, 01:13 PM   #3
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I'm hoping the name change isn't definite. One of the nice things about the current naming scheme is that it parallels the S-series. You get no number for the base model, a 1 for the mid-level (or base), and a 2 for the uplevel model. Made sense to me.

{semi-sarcasm}
But here's the cincher. We'll name our midsize cars like trucks. That's right, now for 2001 we've decided to pretend we're like Ford. They've got F-series trucks, well, we'll get L-series cars.
{/sarcasm}

The 2001's aren't out yet so I'll wait and see. But talk about uninspired and unoriginal names.

About the other rumors, black leather is a nice touch. Jury's out on the alloy (design pending). Airbags are cool. 16" wheels would be nice, no alloys in the package are bad unless they're now standard on the SL2.

SL --> "Value Leader". LOL!!! Yeah, we're not letting that get to our heads. Give me a break. That's like officially renaming Yugo, "The *****box Company". It _might_ be true, but geez. No offense to the messenger. Standard tranny on an SL? Wouldn't that complicate the SL1 and SL2? Would they get standard tranny as well?

-Wei

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Old 06-20-2000, 01:41 PM   #4
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The nice thing about not having the alloys included in the package is that it allows the buyer or retailer to put something different on the cars instead of the uninspired designs that have come from Saturn. These changes are permanent, I work at a retailer and these are faxes and mailings from Saturn. They are actually updated order worksheets. I agree to a point about the renaming being uninspired, but from our standpoint, it helps to separate the S series from the L series. To a potential buyer who is not Saturn-wise, it will help to differentiate between the two. (hopefully) Now if we can have some advertising that would show the cars off, maybe we can move the L series a little better.

Matt

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Old 06-20-2000, 01:52 PM   #5
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I agree with Wei on this one. Given Saturn's problems as of lately, it kind of scares me to think that they actually discussed and came up with this as a possible solution. I can see it now: "Follow the Value Leader."

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Old 06-20-2000, 02:09 PM   #6
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Adding the right mirror to the SL sounds OK. The option is only $40 and is quite useful. Only beef is that some people do want the manual steering, and the SL was the last place to get it.

Always felt the SL was a value leader and owned 3 of them with no quibble.

Perhaps the new name will perk up sales.

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Old 06-20-2000, 02:10 PM   #7
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Well, the name is strictly for marketing. One of the wonderful subtleties of Saturn's design is that there is no model name anywhere on the vehicle (at least I can't find any "LS" on my LS). I, frankly, think it is pretty "cool" to just have SATURN embossed in the rear bumper, and have a badge on each side and the hood. No silly "A4", "Camry", etc.

I too liked the efficient, consistent SL, LS names, but just being on a list like this means I probably pay too much attention to such things <img src="http://www.saturnfans.com/cgi-bin/UltraBoard/Images/Wilk.gif" border="0" align="middle">. The "general public" is probably confusing the two, thus the switch.

Now, let me see. I have a base LS, which will become an L100. So I should be able to haul a half ton with it!

But come to think of it, my parents owned an "L100" (or was it an "100L"?). It was an Audi, and a horrible vehicle. When it ran, they prayed. They stopped praying at 50K miles. I think my "L100" will go a lot longer.

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Old 06-20-2000, 02:31 PM   #8
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Oops, pardon the brain fart. Eyes say power steering, brain thought auto tranny.

Wonder what the SUV is going to be called. Yes, I just refer to all Saturns as Saturns. Much easier.

BTW: Doc, thanks for the heads up.
-Wei

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Old 06-20-2000, 04:38 PM   #9
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I think this is a good move. More than once I've said to someone in the car with me, "Hey, there's a new LS2" and had them reply, "Isn't that what you have?" This should pretty much eliminate any confusion. I'm glad they're sticking with the letter/number designation, though.

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Old 06-20-2000, 07:56 PM   #10
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I say...L200
That is one el of a name!

I don't say...Value Leader. Sounds like a name for an old Rambler.

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Old 06-20-2000, 09:03 PM   #11
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A strange naming scheme, but that's just because I'm not used to it.

Black leather on the L200 and L300 is AWESOME! A step towards a better image for Saturn. A black L300 with black leather and gold package would look VERY exciting. Oh, wait, we still have to work on a black exterior. Drats.

Elimination of alloys on the SL2 package is cool. The main reason, I blieve, is to drop the price of the package-equipped cars. It also gives buyers a choice of aftermarket rims. A new alloy (hopefully exciting) on the L300 is cool. Another choice to please a wider range of people. And a 16" tire and wheel package for the SC2 is very cool and will attract some of those freaky younger guys (uh oh, I sound old! I'm only 20 and just as freaky with my tattoos, piercings, and unnatural hair. HA!).

I still want to see what happens with the pricing of the L series. I bet a price freeze or reduction is in order!

My dream Saturn: L300 with EVERY option, silver with black leather. OUCH!!

Spencer

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Old 06-20-2000, 10:04 PM   #12
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Alriiiiight I'll take the L-400 with the 6-speed manual and 320hp, ground effects, 18" wheels, spoiler that works and built in radar detectors!

But seriously, I'd buy an LS-2 [sic] as soon as they offer the manual tranny, I can't stand automatics. Next time I'm ready to buy a car it will probably end up an SL2 (or S-300??) 5 speed with abs/traction no sunroof! and add my own alloy wheels, unless they ante up and put the manual in the el seriouso...

Rageout

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Old 06-20-2000, 11:52 PM   #13
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Rumour has it that Saturn is coming out with a diesel engine for the L Series. It will be known as the LSD.

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Old 06-21-2000, 03:15 AM   #14
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I guess when a company has "no idea" why their product is not selling well, changing names makes sense.

I spent several days working the Autoshow last March and the public that I talked to understood quickly that "LS" meant "large or larger Sedan" "LW" meant "large or larger wagon" and "S" meant "small or smaller". Maybe because Columbus is home to OSU and folks don't need to much splaining. &lt;LOL&gt;

A real easy way to show people the difference would have been to have a commercial where a "S" series sedan is at a RED light. Then an "L" series sedan pulls up on the right. They obth are lined up at the front and then the "L"
can still be seen at the rear. Through graphics they could show the 14 inch difference at the back end of the "L" or could have just said it in the voice over.

Oh well, if changing the name sells the cars then it is a good idea.

Al

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Old 06-21-2000, 07:16 AM   #15
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This is an interesting string, if only because it goes to show that everybody has their own opinion. For my money, Silverplum has the best take on the whole silly business: a diesel-powered LS called the "LSD." What a trip!

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Old 06-21-2000, 10:17 AM   #16
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In corporate America when something starts to smell bad we have a reorganization (check out how many times they have done it at GM!) and change all the stationary and spend a lot on new logos and updated mission statements.

Changing the names is NOT the same as changing/fixing the products!

I hope that the changes in the L series helps sales. The best things to improve L sales would be if, 1) in April 2001 in the annual car issue of Consumer Reports the L series gets all good marks for reliability, and 2) in the next crash test the L series gets better scores.

I think that the S series is getting long in the tooth (and sales back me up, it is NOT just trucks: Ford is selling as many Focus cars as it can make, ditto for the Corolla and Civic). I happen to like the (3rd Gen?) restyling of the S cars for 2000, but underneath they are not a whole lot different from the 1991 Saturns. Hint: bring back rear discs, add current technology like side airbags and dynamic stability control, use better quality interior materials, put the new GM 4 cyl from the L into the S. Most of all, stop those penny pinching cuts that have Saturn's quality eroding in comparison to the rest of the cars out there.

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Old 06-21-2000, 10:38 AM   #17
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To run on this tangent...

I don't know Ford's sales numbers, but I'd be willing to bet that one of the reasons the Focus is selling well is the ZX3 packaging: put the hot (in this case, about 130 HP if I remember correctly) motor in the base hatchback body with few other frills and sell the whole package for $12-13K. Sure, it's not as fast as a Civic Si, but it's also $4-5K less. That's a lot of money if you're young and buying your first car. It's also about $2-3K less than the SC2.

A friend of mine bought one last winter to replace his 89 Civic Si (which had 212K miles on it) He loves it. I like my SW2 a lot, but the Focus wagon would have been a serious contender if it came with a manual trans.

Hopefully this new infusion of cash to Saturn from GM will help turn things around.

-=Chris

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Old 06-21-2000, 03:04 PM   #18
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Interesting article in today's (6/21) USAToday on GM's analyst conference in Italy. I'll quote the two Saturn paragraphs.

The preceding paragraph had GM's N.A President, Ron Zarella stating that with brands such as Olds, Cadillac and Pontiac, GM "has the right product there, or shortly on the way, but... we have to attract more baby boomers to these brands... and make sure that we aren't making the same mistakes with Generation X and Y as we did when baby boomers were younger."

Here's where Saturn gets mentioned:

<blockquote><hr>
&gt; Saturn has credibility with boomers and younger buyers. But its midsize LS sedan has flopped, on track to sell just 100,000 this year instead of the planned 180,000. Zarella says the LS is too small compared with the latest versions of Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. LS pricing is coming down to help drive sales, though Zarella says Saturn will not compromise its no-haggle strategy.

Asked if Saturn should have gotten a minivan or sport-utility vehicle instead of the sedan after so many years of selling just one small product platform, Zarella said, "Hindsight being 20/20, I'd have to say yes."
<hr></blockquote>

Maybe this article is highly accurate, maybe it's a bit exaggerated. But it was interesting. At least they ran a nice picture of an LS2 with the caption: "Meanwhile, prices on the Saturn LS are coming down to give sales a boost."

the HumpMan

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Old 06-21-2000, 03:48 PM   #19
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The article Humpman cited can be read here:

http://www.usatoday.com/usatonline/20000621/2383920s.htm

I find that comment on hindsight degrading. As if they would have committed such hindsight with a 'traditional' GM division. I honestly feel that if GM really gave a damn, they would have allowed simultaneous development of new Saturn products. Similar to how all the Nissans were redesigned at once. Unfortunately, that won't happen until the Delta Platform. More unfortunate is the loss of Saturn's perceived autonomy.

I half-heartedly suspect GM marketing renamed the L-series. To think that Isuzu is designing the light pickups. Wonder what that means for the SUV and SUT.

-Wei

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Old 06-22-2000, 02:08 AM   #20
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I full-heartedly welcome each of these improvements and offerings for these cars. Side airbags? Great! 16-inch alloys? Great! Black leather? (drool) Great! Bigger gas tank? Great! L-100/200/300?

What the hell?

C'mon! It sounds like some sort of tractor trailer!

Well, if it'll help sales, I guess go for it.

I still don't know what's wrong with the initial "SR" idea. It sounds just so cool.

Acevedo 97sl2

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