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Old 07-08-2008, 10:57 PM   #1
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Default Lajdziak: Sale of Saturn "Not in the Cards"

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Lajdziak: Sale of Saturn "Not in the Cards"

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You've undoubtedly heard the news or read the rumors: General Motors is in trouble. Gas prices are at an all-time high and the company's stock price is hovering around a 50-year low. The news has led to all sorts of speculation about what's in store for the company's future.

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Old 07-09-2008, 01:48 AM   #2
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Default Re: Lajdziak: Sale of Saturn "Not in the Cards"

One question. If a sale of Saturn were in the cards, does anyone believe their execs would come out and tell everyone and kill off future sales in a soon to be dead brand?

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Old 07-09-2008, 02:22 AM   #3
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Default Re: Lajdziak: Sale of Saturn "Not in the Cards"

Are you talking about a sale (in which case the brand would continue), or a shutdown? They are two very different things. Bear in mind also that GM also has a legal obligation to dealers and potential and current investors to be honest about their plans—they don't have to reveal everything, but they can't mislead dealers, customers or investors. Of course there is also the adage "anything is for sale at the right price"—if another company (perhaps a cashed-up Chinese automaker such as FAW or GM partner SAIC) were to make an offer for Saturn or any other brand, GM would have to rethink their position, and if the money were too good to refuse …

It also has to be said that continued negative coverage can have a real material impact on a company's sales, even without any real substance to back it up. One major automaker has already announced the shutdown of an assembly operation in recent months because of the negative impact on sales of continued media reports (over a number of years) that they would do exactly that. Irresponsible and perhaps even malicious reports of brand closures and impending bankruptcy have a way of becoming self-fulfilling prophecies that a company can have a tough time overcoming. Bad news sells. GM also has to deal with disgruntled employees who want certain brands to be shut down because for whatever reason they have an axe to grind (the business case be damned). They are prepared to mislead senior management about sales potential, spread negative rumors and do whatever else it takes to undermine the object of their malice.

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Old 07-09-2008, 03:30 AM   #4
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Default Re: Lajdziak: Sale of Saturn "Not in the Cards"

I am glad to read that Saturn is not going away. Quite frankly I was rather depressed after reading the Wall Street Journal article.I found it hard to imagine never walking into my Saturn dealership because GM closed the doors . I do find it interesting that within that statement from the GM executive he had mentioned that in spite of the ION being discontinued..... maybe they realize that discontinuing the ION at this time wasn't such a good idea. Regarding the Astra and its sales growing... well I haven't seen to many here in North New Jersey. In fact I have not seen one on the road but I always see IONs. My dealer has an Astra on the floor at $ 21,000. Its a red two door with black leather heated seats. It is a sharp looking solid car but at $ 329.00 or so per month who is going to buy it? My dealer has sold a few but I have been told that they wish they still had the ION. Also it was mentioned that most ION owners are trading up to the Aura. Used IONs move off the lot quickly.
I do not think GM will drop Buick because it is now down to 2 sedans and an SUV. I do think that if the market returns GM could re-introduce the Riviera as a premium sports coupe. The 100 year anniversary is coming up one & Buick is one of its oldest brand names.It would not be good publicity on the eve of the 100 year milestone to discontinue one of its oldest and well known divisions. BTW Buick is one of the best selling cars in China. As for Pontiac I see a tightening up of the model line-up. I remember when GM divisions such as Buick & Olds had several models. Buick ranged from the Special to the Riviera with the LeSabre, Wildcat, Skylark, Electra 225 and the Sportwagon among the many models offered over the years. Those days are gone forever.
Chevrolet & Cadillac will continue with probably the same model line-up. Chevy will add the Volt which is going to interesting. I bet that if the Volt is a shocking good car {pardon the pun} look for Saturn to have a version a few years alter . I think that after reading the sales figures for Saab in the WSJ GM will sell that brand plus the Hummer division. Ford needed to keep Volvo because of all the premium nameplates they had purchased Volvo offered Ford an opportunity to be linked with a car known for safety. After the problems with the gas tanks on the Grand Victoria police cars and the Explorer tire problems Volvo gave Ford some necessary safety credentials. Saab was a quirky car that GM unfortunately blended all too well into its corporate mold. I really do not know why GM purchased Saab-maybe it was because Ford had purchased Volvo? GM took all that was unique out of Saab. I wouldn't be surprised to see Saab in the future stand alone or as a division of another car company. Another interesting area of speculation concerns trucks. GM duplicates the truck line-up in both Chevy & GMC. It is hard to guess what could happen but if gas prices stay high I would think that GM will prune back both line-ups and keep GMC linked with Pontiac & Buick. It seems of late that GM seems to be linking Pontiac, Buick and GMC together.This is why Pontiac probably one of the reasons GM didn't replace the Bonneville since combined dealerships have the Buick sedans. The Grand Prix has been replaced by the G8. It is best not to remember what GM did to the LeMans and GTO nameplates when they re-introduced those models. There are probably still stand alone Pontiac and GMC dealerships but I bet that in the future Pontiac, Buick & GMC will sold under one roof. Recently the local Dodge dealership closed and a new Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep dealership opened on the highway. I guess that GM & Chrysler will doing more of this in the future.
One final comment-any closing out of a GM division would cost GM a small fortune in legal fees. When Oldsmobile was discontinued I read that GM spent a lot of money dealing with the issues surrounding the end of Olds especially with the stand alone Oldsmobile dealerships It would also further depress consumer confidence in GM if the buying public knew that GM was taking off the road another venerable nameplate.

One question remains-the WSJ mentioned that GM had stopped development on the next generation Aura. Has anyone any info on this? It seems that the Aura is the best selling car in the Saturn line-up so if saturn is not going away why stop the project?

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Old 07-09-2008, 04:42 AM   #5
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Post Re: Lajdziak: Sale of Saturn "Not in the Cards"

Unless Saturn has a plug-in hybred in the wings for 2010, we have purchased our last Saturns (a 2005 VUE and a 2002 SC2). We don't care how fuel efficient the vehicles are, if a gasoline engine is driving the wheels, we will reject it out of hand!

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Old 07-09-2008, 06:02 AM   #6
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Default Re: Lajdziak: Sale of Saturn "Not in the Cards"

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Unless Saturn has a plug-in hybred in the wings for 2010, we have purchased our last Saturns (a 2005 VUE and a 2002 SC2). We don't care how fuel efficient the vehicles are, if a gasoline engine is driving the wheels, we will reject it out of hand!

Gennie, Eric, Mariebeth & Stephanie (gems)
They do (late '09, IIRC), but I don't think you'll like the price tag...

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Old 07-09-2008, 07:38 AM   #7
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Default Re: Lajdziak: Sale of Saturn "Not in the Cards"

Saturn does have a plug in car in the works. I just hope it is badged a Saturn and not some other gm

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Old 07-09-2008, 08:01 AM   #8
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Default Re: Lajdziak: Sale of Saturn "Not in the Cards"

well yeah its not for sale, theyll just pull the plug.

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Old 07-09-2008, 08:08 AM   #9
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Default Re: Lajdziak: Sale of Saturn "Not in the Cards"

I feel that one of the things that hurts Saturn is the low number of retail outlets or dealerships. It is hard to grow our sales with only around 400 dealerships. I have been with Saturn for 14 years and we truly have some of the best vehicles on the market! It seems that GM always misses the boat with planning...not having enough Hybrids has cost us many sales. As mentioned in the email from GM marketing director, Saturn is positioned well for the current $4 per gallon for gas environment, but we have to take advantage of this market! We need more 4 cylinder VUE's and AURA's now...our own facility is down to just a hand full and no one is wanting V6's. Get our total number of dealerships to 650 and you will grow your sales and keep investing in future products! The word is getting out about Saturn...just wish we have a better marketing plan! It always seems either we have the marketing(early 90's) or have the cars(now)...yet seem to never have both! The marketing for the Astra has been one of the worst in my 14 years of service to Saturn! Let's get our act together and move forward and save this great company that I love!

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Old 07-09-2008, 08:42 AM   #10
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Default Re: Lajdziak: Sale of Saturn "Not in the Cards"

The Intrigue, Alero, Bravada, and Aurora were all about as new as Saturn's lineup when the ax was announced for Olds. All were told it was business as usual until the official announcement came.

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Old 07-09-2008, 08:58 AM   #11
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Default Re: Lajdziak: Sale of Saturn "Not in the Cards"

Yo! Jill !!! 411: there is nothing TO sell. Spring Hill went to Chevy, the Sky and Solstice are completely GM parts bin, the Aura totally integrated into GM's manufacturing sched alongside the Pontiac G6, Astra is an Opel imported from Beligium. The Outlook "crossover" comes down the same line as the others from Buick and GMC. The VUE is unique to Saturn [for now]. That's all you got.

Saturn couldn't be more fully integrated into GM than it is now. Unless they got a Cobalt clone like the G5. Hummer and Saab are still relatively independent. And therefore salable.

Clever wordplay, but it's "Not in the cards" because it isn't remotely possible to "break off" Saturn and sell it.

GM "Professional Grade" nonsense

Last edited by Citation84; 07-09-2008 at 09:05 AM..

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Old 07-09-2008, 09:00 AM   #12
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Default Re: Lajdziak: Sale of Saturn "Not in the Cards"

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The Intrigue, Alero, Bravada, and Aurora were all about as new as Saturn's lineup when the ax was announced for Olds. All were told it was business as usual until the official announcement came.
Bull's eye, Wei.

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Old 07-09-2008, 09:06 AM   #13
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Default Re: Lajdziak: Sale of Saturn "Not in the Cards"

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The Intrigue, Alero, Bravada, and Aurora were all about as new as Saturn's lineup when the ax was announced for Olds. All were told it was business as usual until the official announcement came.
Bingo! How many times does history have to repeat itself for people to catch on? Well, on the flip side, history has proven that history will repeat itself so why bother? ....

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Old 07-09-2008, 10:09 AM   #14
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Default Re: Lajdziak: Sale of Saturn "Not in the Cards"

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Bingo! How many times does history have to repeat itself for people to catch on? Well, on the flip side, history has proven that history will repeat itself so why bother? ....
I think you're right. BUT, there are other moves that can be made by GM - like offering Saturns at dealers that sell Buick, Pontiac and GMC. I'm convinced the small number of Saturn dealers is the main reason for the brand's continued small niche status, and lack of growth. I have nothing against current Saturn dealers, but enlarging the network to other existing GM branded dealers makes sense to me. The lack of dealer coverage in huge chunks of the country ensures spotty sales. Even in Phoenix, a market of 4 million plus, SAAB, Suzuki, VW and Kia have more dealers than Saturn. Hell, Cadillac has more dealers than Saturn. Limiting the number of dealerships to ensure the success of single brand stand alone stores doesn't work anymore. GM acknowledged that by folding in other divisions into joint stores. So GM has a problem - in my opinion. They have a business model at Saturn that just can't work, if increased sales in a competitive market is the goal.

Remember what Albert said: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

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Old 07-09-2008, 10:19 AM   #15
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Default Re: Lajdziak: Sale of Saturn "Not in the Cards"

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Originally Posted by Citation84 View Post
Yo! Jill !!! 411: there is nothing TO sell. Spring Hill went to Chevy, the Sky and Solstice are completely GM parts bin, the Aura totally integrated into GM's manufacturing sched alongside the Pontiac G6, Astra is an Opel imported from Belgium. The Outlook "crossover" comes down the same line as the others from Buick and GMC. The VUE is unique to Saturn [for now]. That's all you got.

Saturn couldn't be more fully integrated into GM than it is now. Unless they got a Cobalt clone like the G5. Hummer and Saab are still relatively independent. And therefore salable.

Clever wordplay, but it's "Not in the cards" because it isn't remotely possible to "break off" Saturn and sell it.

GM "Professional Grade" nonsense
Thanks Citation84! You're 100% right... Saturn doesn't have any assets any longer. GM sold them off when they assimilated Saturn.

No matter what happens, the upper management has to deny any problems.

Rick Wagoner has been actively trying to find workable solutions to cut GM's loses. Saturn is especially vulnerable to be cut because of low sales and more successful duplicate chassis in other GM divisions.

Why does GM need Saturn any longer?

i.e. Why have the Saturn Outlook when the Acadia and Enclave and upcoming Traverse is being released?

i.e. Why have the Aura when the Malibu, and G6 can easily fill it's void.

i.e. The Solstice can fill the 2-seater sales void, especially since you can now get a hardtop version.

i.e. The VUE can be ported over to Chevrolet or Pontiac with no problem.

i.e. The Opel experiment was not successful. Americans have never wanted Opels in any significant numbers. The Astra can stop being imported.

The limited number of sales of these Saturn models don't justify their existence. We'll see in the upcoming months what GM will do to cut their losses. Change is inevitable. There may be a Chevrolet in your future...

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Old 07-09-2008, 11:00 AM   #16
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Default Re: Lajdziak: Sale of Saturn "Not in the Cards"

Saturn has no unique products right now. Everything is just re-badged, off the shelf GM stuff. IMHO, this is hurting Saturn, and not doing GM much good either.

The general public looks at this and thinks:
-Why buy an Aura? I can get the same car badged as a Malibu for less.
-Why buy an Outlook? I can get the same truck badged as a GMC for less.
(Not that alot of people are buying large SUV's right now anyhow)
-Why buy a Sky? I can get the same car badged as a Solstice for less.
-Why buy a Vue? I can get the same car badged as a Equinox for less.

While those statements might not be accurate, that is the general public view. Ask some of your friends who don't know much about Saturn, see what they say.

Rebadging only works on paper on an accountants desk.

The exception - the only unique car Saturn has in the US now is the Astra. That could have been a huge success, but they went cheap. The off-the-shelf engine they chose is viewed as underpowered. And there aren't alot of options available. That wouldn't be a problem if it got great MPG numbers, but people are unimpressed with the EPA fuel economy rating. I've personally steered 5 people into Saturn stores to look at the Astra, a car they never heard of. They liked the car, but walked away because of better option choices at the competition. 1 bought a Focus, 2 went with Japanese cars, and 2 bought MINI Coopers.

Tapping into Opel is a good idea, but they have to do it right. Saturn could sell alot of very good cars unique to the US market, *IF* they handle it the right way.

My advice to Saturn - expand on the Astra concept, and do it quickly. Bring us the Saturn/Opel Corsa. Offer more choices - more options, more engines, more body styles. Bring over the Astra wagon and sedan. The design work is done, take advantage of what's there.

I know some of this in the works with the next gen Astra. Let's hope it's not too little, too late...

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Old 07-09-2008, 11:15 AM   #17
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Default Re: Lajdziak: Sale of Saturn "Not in the Cards"

IF GM were to get rid of Saturn. I don't know if I would EVER buy a General Motors vehicle again.
Come on GM! Please don't make a stupid decision.
We can only hope that Saturn will stay.

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Old 07-09-2008, 12:41 PM   #18
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Default Re: Lajdziak: Sale of Saturn "Not in the Cards"

Didn't Saturn execs once say that there were no plans to eliminate polymer panels, or build Saturns in Mexico, or close down Spring Hill, or.....

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Old 07-09-2008, 12:44 PM   #19
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Default Re: Lajdziak: Sale of Saturn "Not in the Cards"

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Didn't Saturn execs once say that there were no plans to eliminate polymer panels, or build Saturns in Mexico, or close down Spring Hill, or.....
Not that I can remember...

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Old 07-09-2008, 12:45 PM   #20
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Default Re: Lajdziak: Sale of Saturn "Not in the Cards"

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IF GM were to get rid of Saturn. I don't know if I would EVER buy a General Motors vehicle again.
Come on GM! Please don't make a stupid decision.
We can only hope that Saturn will stay.
You, me, and a couple hundred thousand other people per year.

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