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Old 09-08-2008, 10:53 PM   #1
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Default Lutz Tells Automotive News that the Poor Currency Exchange Rate is Hurting Saturn Ast

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Lutz Tells Automotive News that the Poor Currency Exchange Rate is Hurting Saturn Astra Sales

Quote:
General Motors says the imported Saturn Astra has become a victim of the weak U.S. dollar. The Belgium-built 3- and 5-door hatchbacks, while critically acclaimed, have suffered from slow sales since their North American launch last January. GM vice chairman Bob Lutz bluntly told Automotive News in an article published this morning that "the car is priced too high."

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Old 09-09-2008, 12:05 AM   #2
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Default Re: Lutz Tells Automotive News that a Poor Currency Exchange Rate is Hurting Saturn A

So it took them this long to figure it out?

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Old 09-09-2008, 06:36 AM   #3
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Default Re: Lutz Tells Automotive News that the Poor Currency Exchange Rate is Hurting Saturn

I think that if the car were marketed correctly, it would boost the volume. Many people aproach me asking what kind of car it is. They have never seen or heard of it. What does that say for marketing?

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Old 09-09-2008, 08:23 AM   #4
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Default Re: Lutz Tells Automotive News that the Poor Currency Exchange Rate is Hurting Saturn

I only learned of the car when I was searching for info on the Volkswagen Rabbit and saw it on the US News and World Report website.

Never saw a Saturn ad in a magazine, never saw a commercial.


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Old 09-09-2008, 08:33 AM   #5
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Default Re: Lutz Tells Automotive News that the Poor Currency Exchange Rate is Hurting Saturn

I agree with Jet Sky. There is just no advertising for this model. I live in a Detroit suburb and was driving on Woodward Ave. when someone pulled up next to me and commented on how nice the car looked and wanted to know what it was. When I told him that it is a Saturn Astra he nodded and said he never never heard of it; and asked if it was a new offering from Saturn.

Selling 8k of a model on just word of mouth is remarkable IMO. They would sell even more if;
  1. They advertised the car more.
  2. Have more manual transmission versions at the dealership. Every where I shopped there was a plethora of automatics but a limited number of manuals. This car is not meant for automatic transmissions; it just too darn fun to drive with a stick.
  3. Offer more engine options; my mouth watered when I heard that Opal offered a turbo diesel engine option. I asked the dealer if there was any way to special order one but he said that was out of the question.

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Old 09-09-2008, 09:13 AM   #6
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Default Re: Lutz Tells Automotive News that the Poor Currency Exchange Rate is Hurting Saturn

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Originally Posted by KimballGCole View Post
Offer more engine options; my mouth watered when I heard that Opal offered a turbo diesel engine option. I asked the dealer if there was any way to special order one but he said that was out of the question.
Actually Opel offers six turbodiesels. But it's hardly GM's fault you cant buy them, it's the archaic rules of your EPA.

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Old 09-09-2008, 10:10 AM   #7
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Default Re: Lutz Tells Automotive News that the Poor Currency Exchange Rate is Hurting Saturn

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Originally Posted by KimballGCole View Post
...[*] Have more manual transmission versions at the dealership. Every where I shopped there was a plethora of automatics but a limited number of manuals. This car is not meant for automatic transmissions; it just too darn fun to drive with a stick.[*] Offer more engine options; my mouth watered when I heard that Opal offered a turbo diesel engine option. I asked the dealer if there was any way to special order one but he said that was out of the question.[/LIST]
Both Saturn of Greenfield (my former local dealer) and Saturn of Madison (my current local dealer) have primarily manuals.

Yes, they do need to offer more engine options. I want a 2.0 Turbo. That would do it.

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Old 09-09-2008, 05:53 PM   #8
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Default Re: Lutz Tells Automotive News that the Poor Currency Exchange Rate is Hurting Saturn

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Originally Posted by Jet Sky View Post
I think that if the car were marketed correctly, it would boost the volume. Many people aproach me asking what kind of car it is. They have never seen or heard of it. What does that say for marketing?
Based on Bob Lutz's assessment that the price of the Astra is too high to achieve high levels of sales and that profits are also not being realized, I suspect the lack of marketing is purposeful. The relative value of the US dollar versus the Euro has fortunately increased over the past few weeks. We can only hope that that trend continues both for the sake of the Astra and also for the price of oil that most Americans are paying.

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Old 09-09-2008, 06:59 PM   #9
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Default Re: Lutz Tells Automotive News that the Poor Currency Exchange Rate is Hurting Saturn

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Originally Posted by John10 View Post
Based on Bob Lutz's assessment that the price of the Astra is too high to achieve high levels of sales and that profits are also not being realized, I suspect the lack of marketing is purposeful. The relative value of the US dollar versus the Euro has fortunately increased over the past few weeks. We can only hope that that trend continues both for the sake of the Astra and also for the price of oil that most Americans are paying.
Crude oil is exchanged in US$. In fact, despite the strenght of the Euro, gasoline prices in Europe keep going up every month. How is the euro going to make a difference in what we pay for gas over here?

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Old 09-09-2008, 07:21 PM   #10
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Default Re: Lutz Tells Automotive News that the Poor Currency Exchange Rate is Hurting Saturn

When GM starts building Astras in Mexico, Lordstown or wherever they plan to assemble the next generation since importing from Europe was a short term goal, we'll get more choice and probably more car for the money, too. Until then, we need to deal with what comes across the Atlantic.

Lutz isn't telling anyone what they don't already know. The marketing is virtually invisible and those who do come across the Astra by chance think it's a nice car though a bit pricey and usually end up going with a competitor (Rabbit, Mazda3) or stepping up in class to an Aura 4-banger. You can't expect brisk sales when word isn't getting out.

I think the 1.4L turbo is pretty much a no brainer for the next-gen Astra since it should also find a home in both the Chevy Aveo and Cruze, but does GM have the courage to offer 2.0L LNF-power too?


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Old 09-09-2008, 07:33 PM   #11
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Default Re: Lutz Tells Automotive News that the Poor Currency Exchange Rate is Hurting Saturn

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Originally Posted by nababbo View Post
Crude oil is exchanged in US$. In fact, despite the strenght of the Euro, gasoline prices in Europe keep going up every month. How is the euro going to make a difference in what we pay for gas over here?
The US dollar is not pegged to any absolute standard and its value fluctuates daily. When oil companies pay for crude in dollars, they need to use more of those dollars for an equivalent amount of oil if the dollar value is lower. That cost is then passed on and is ultimately reflected in the retail price we pay. This is true for all sorts of goods and commodities. I don't follow gasoline prices in Europe but I would expect them to rise as the relative value of the Euro declines, much as our retail petroleum prices were rising when the value of the dollar was declining.

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Old 09-10-2008, 05:48 AM   #12
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Default Re: Lutz Tells Automotive News that the Poor Currency Exchange Rate is Hurting Saturn

I'm sure if Saturn /GM maintains statistics of what options were sold within each unit. Lutz said that there were 7,914 sold; that's gross number of units I bet the breakdown by options i.e.
  • manual transmissions vs. automatic,
  • sun roofs
  • 5 door vs. 3 door.
  • etc.
would help Saturn / GM realize that the Astra is not being utilized as a utility vehicle but as a sports compact and import the correct number of units with the correct options to match the demand.

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Old 09-10-2008, 07:31 PM   #13
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Default Re: Lutz Tells Automotive News that the Poor Currency Exchange Rate is Hurting Saturn

If they are losing money in America, they can't be making much in Australia.... if you translate one over here, it is 19300 with the exchange rate, it compares to an XR with Stability so, 19,000 both cars are before incentives. They even have the turbo and convertable models available there.

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