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Old 02-16-2002, 08:33 AM   #1
ehaase
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Default Next Generation L Series May Be Sport Wagon, Not Sedan

http://www.autonews.com/article.cms?articleId=38338

Finally - Saturn has new products to tout


By Dave Guilford
Automotive News / February 18, 2002

When it takes over as Saturn's advertising agency, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners will have something Publicis & Hal Riney lacked: fresh product.

Riney struggled along in recent years with the long-in-the-tooth S-series compact and the L series, a mid-sized car that never met sales projections.

But Goodby will have a completely revamped lineup to sell by mid-decade. Saturn last month dumped Riney in favor of Goodby.

Saturn's plans include:



The Ion, the replacement for the S series, goes on sale this fall. It will debut at the New York auto show in March. The Ion, GM's first North American vehicle on its new Delta small-car architecture, first will be offered as a sedan, and a coupe is coming next year. The Ion gives Saturn a new look and identity in its volume segment.


The Vue, a small sport wagon, is getting its initial ad push in Riney's final work for Saturn. The Vue puts Saturn into a fast-growing segment, adding all-wheel drive and an optional continuously variable transmission as selling points.


An unspecified L series replacement built on General Motors' mid-sized Epsilon platform is expected around mid-decade. GM officials say it likely will not be a sedan, raising the possibility of a crossover vehicle.

In the interim, Saturn gets a freshened version of the L series initially shown earlier this month at the Chicago Auto Show. The L series will go on sale in summer. Saturn officials hope the changes to the front end will give the L series a more upscale image.

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Old 02-16-2002, 08:41 AM   #2
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The VUE is a small sports wagon? I don't think so. The vehicle registration on my LW200 says Saturn LW1 Sportswagon

Also, no mention of a hatchback version of the ION, just a coupe... sigh. So I guess I should just go out and test drive the Matrix, Vibe, Aerio Fastback, Elantra GT, P5 and ZX5 now???

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Old 02-16-2002, 08:58 AM   #3
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This article also confirms that there will be no direct replacement for the L series sedan. Saturn will have a mid sized vehicle, just not a sedan - http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...4&goto=newpost

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Old 02-16-2002, 09:04 AM   #4
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I wonder if this means some of the rumours of the ION's size are true. It could be closer to mid-sized rather than compact. I guess we'll find out next month.

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Old 02-16-2002, 09:41 AM   #5
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Default This Is the Article I Meant to Post

http://www.autonews.com/article.cms?articleId=38368

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Old 02-16-2002, 01:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Harry
I wonder if this means some of the rumours of the ION's size are true. It could be closer to mid-sized rather than compact. I guess we'll find out next month.
With the Daewoo deal I expect GM is telling all of its divisions to stay out of the low end. How long before the new "small" Saturn is nothing but a rebadged Daewoo built in Korea, and sold at your local saturn dealer? Hmmmmm. There goes another part of Saturn.

The existing SL2 is rather large already for a compact. THe L, despite the bigger powerplant, isn't that much bigger.

Gee, won't that large four door ION coupe handle like a dream, eh? </sarcasm>

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Old 02-16-2002, 01:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Gee, won't that large four door ION coupe handle like a dream, eh? </sarcasm>
Plastic Gravity: Amen. Although the Delta platform is supposed to be *extremely* rigid, I don't see how it could compensate for two extra doors when it's supposed to be driving like a coupe.

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An unspecified L series replacement built on General Motors' mid-sized Epsilon platform is expected around mid-decade. GM officials say it likely will not be a sedan, raising the possibility of a crossover vehicle.
Great. Just great. No offense to anyone here, but I don't like wagons. At ALL. I have yet to see a wagon-type vehicle that looks really good, except some of the first gen SWx wagons featured here from time-to-time. I like sedans, not hatchbacks, not sports wagons, and NOT sedans mascarading as coupes (aka Quad Coupe).

Ed

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Old 02-17-2002, 03:40 AM   #8
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Bingo! I posted a few weeks ago that GM had cancelled the next generation GMX383 L-Series replacement, known as Renaissance internally with little fan fare. In place of the 4-door, Saturn will instead offer a version of the Epsilon-based 5-door Malibu Smartback, GMX380, with production currently scheduled to begin in April 2005.

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Old 02-17-2002, 04:26 PM   #9
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I'm buying my 2001 L-series now. But I will NEVER buy one that's a hatchback of any kind. I don't like hatchbacks, wagons--only sedans. I would still buy a VUE, though. But for now, I'll stick with the used L-series that I'm trying to buy.


Ed

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Old 02-17-2002, 04:40 PM   #10
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I hate to get flamed here, but the L-series replacement was gonna be built on the same platform as the Malibu, anyways. And when pictures of the 5-door Vectra were posted, most everyone was "oooo...ahhhh"'ing over the looks of the car. But now that it's likely the L-series will be 5-door, everyone's complaining about it? I'm sorry, I had a bad day today, and I just had to gripe about this.

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Old 02-17-2002, 05:40 PM   #11
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In my opinion, it would be great if the next L were identical to the new 5-door Vectra. However, it doesn't look like that's going to happen. The Epsilon-based Malibu is apparently going to be quite different from the Vectra. For one thing, the Malibu is going to be a much larger vehicle. According to the March issue of Popular Mechanics, the next Malibu will be 6 inches longer than the current version. That'll make it around 196 inches. By comparison, the new Vectra is only 180".
Thus, if the next L is a 5-door Malibu, it's going to be a much larger vehicle than the 5-door Vectra. Basically, it'll be Taurus-sized.
Personally, I'd like to see Saturn go in the other direction and build a sports sedan in the Audi A4/VW Passat range (i.e., 180"-185").

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Old 02-17-2002, 05:51 PM   #12
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It is true that the original L-Series replacement (GMX383) was also to be Epsilon based, but it was being designed as a traditional 4-door sedan. The new model will be based on the Epsilon platform and will be very different from the 5-door Opel Vectra that everyone's been talking about. Instead, it will be something quite different, something along the lines of a half sport wagon and half 5-door hatchback. The 5-door Vectra by comparison is smaller and a much more traditional design. It will differ from the 4-door Malibu in that it will be based on a longer wheelbase version of the Epsilon platform. This will also mark the first all steel-bodied Saturn and will not be produced at either Spring Hill or Wilmington.

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Old 02-17-2002, 06:06 PM   #13
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From what I understand, the Malibu hatchback and the L series replacement will look a lot like the Signum II show car.

I don't think that we are going to get the Vectra 5 door hatchback, although such a car could be the spiritual descendant of the old Chevrolet Citation - which I thought was a nice concept for its time, but poorly executed.

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Old 02-17-2002, 06:14 PM   #14
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Originally posted by AH-HA
This will also mark the first all steel-bodied Saturn and will not be produced at either Spring Hill or Wilmington.
What exactly will Saturn have to offer once the polymer is gone?

Its not built in one of there "unique factories", so much for that little workplace revolution they used to promote. The motors are nothing special anymore. The styling seems to be heading into UJS(ubiquitous japanese sedan) territory. Saturn interiors have never been anything to brag about. Price? Sorry, that's fixed.

So what are you left with? Friendly dealers? BFD!

The future looks grim for Saturn.

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Old 02-17-2002, 07:01 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Plastic Gravity


What exactly will Saturn have to offer once the polymer is gone?

Its not built in one of there "unique factories", so much for that little workplace revolution they used to promote. The motors are nothing special anymore. The styling seems to be heading into UJS(ubiquitous japanese sedan) territory. Saturn interiors have never been anything to brag about. Price? Sorry, that's fixed.

So what are you left with? Friendly dealers? BFD!

The future looks grim for Saturn.
Yeah, I think I've got to agree on this one. I really don't see anything special about Saturn anymore. Sure, they may produce some competent cars in the future, but there's nothing unique or "different" about Saturn - it's really now just another GM division. Pretty much every aspect of Saturn that made it something special is now gone.

The good news is if you don't like what Saturn is offering, there are a whole lot of other good choices out there.

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Old 02-17-2002, 08:40 PM   #16
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I'm buying an '01 L300 now because of the fact that it does have the polymer panels. Other than that and the heated seats, it's no different from any other midsize car. In fact, if it weren't for the poly panels, I'd go for an Impala or a Taurus. They're both midsize cars, and their backseats are more habitable. They're both safer cars, in terms of frontal impacts, and the Impala is safer side-impact wise. They both have more available features, too.

The Saturn can blow them away as far as acceleration goes though, I'll bet. And I'll also bet the Saturn is more reliable, which is another big reason that I'm buying it.

Ed

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Old 02-18-2002, 03:49 AM   #17
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Wow, things seem only get dull in the evolution of 'newer' Saturn........5-door sportwagon? Isn't it what SAAB is doing in all its cars now? Problem emerging as no more use of polymer, no more Saturn-designed Powerplant/Tranny, and Chassis, no more SpringHill made Saturn........wow, I think I'm talking about another GM car here.

As I'd say:
The only difference between Titanic and Saturn is: They have a band.

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Old 02-18-2002, 08:18 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by qlara
Wow, things seem only get dull in the evolution of 'newer' Saturn........5-door sportwagon? Isn't it what SAAB is doing in all its cars now? Problem emerging as no more use of polymer, no more Saturn-designed Powerplant/Tranny, and Chassis, no more SpringHill made Saturn........wow, I think I'm talking about another GM car here.

As I'd say:
The only difference between Titanic and Saturn is: They have a band.
Its like watching a slow motion train wreck.

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Old 02-19-2002, 11:42 AM   #19
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OK, so why would Saturn (GM) go to all the trouble to restyle the L-Series to move it more upscale to generate more interest to sell more L-Series, and than kill it in 2 years?

Am I missing something here?

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Old 02-19-2002, 12:18 PM   #20
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Quote:
Isn't it what SAAB is doing in all its cars now?
Actually it's the exact opposite of what Saab has been/is doing. When the 9000 was retired and replaced with the 9-5 a few years ago, there was outrage among Saab enthusiasts that the 9-5 was only going to be made in regular sedan and wagon versions, no hatchback. Now it's generally accepted as the best Saab ever made, so the complaining isn't so loud any more. Also the next 9-3, set to debut soon, will only be made in sedan, wagon, and convertible forms, no hatchback.

There is clearly a resurgence of popularity for hatchbacks and wagons, however the smart companies (Mazda, Hyundai, Lexus, BMW, Audi, etc) are offering more than one type for a given model. Limiting the L replacement to just a hatchback will be very foolish.

jeff

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