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Old 12-02-2008, 07:29 PM   #1
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Default Motor Trend: Buick will Replace Saturn as Opel's Global Partner

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Motor Trend: Buick will Replace Saturn as Opel's Global Partner

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Todd Lassa from Motor Trend says that his magazine will report in its January 2009 issue that "Saturn's connection with Opel styling is over. Following the current wave of Saturns, Opel styling will merge with Buick's." Why? The reasons Lassa says make a lot of sense. "First, GM wants to push Opel back upmarket," he says.

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Old 12-02-2008, 07:36 PM   #2
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Default Re: Motor Trend: Buick will Replace Saturn as Opel's Global Partner

Buick Astra?

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Old 12-02-2008, 07:43 PM   #3
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Default Re: Motor Trend: Buick will Replace Saturn as Opel's Global Partner

GM wants to push Opel back upmarket

Didn't GM make a similar statement concerning Saturn a few years ago?

If they want to rebadge Opels as Buicks in this country, good luck. IMO, Buick carries the same 'Old F*rt' connotation as Oldsmobile did. I don't think it will translate. I often wonder how companies come up with goofy solutions like this.

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Old 12-02-2008, 07:54 PM   #4
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Default Re: Motor Trend: Buick will Replace Saturn as Opel's Global Partner

Buick-Opel = it's the '70s all over again!
Pardon me while I go dust off my copy of Frampton Comes Alive!

Seriously, I hope that this round of Buick-Opel fares better than the last one.


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Old 12-02-2008, 08:00 PM   #5
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Default Re: Motor Trend: Buick will Replace Saturn as Opel's Global Partner



Trip down memory lane..I remember this ad.

My best friend in High School did have an Opel 1900 wagon..thought it was kinda cool.

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Old 12-02-2008, 09:47 PM   #6
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Default Re: Motor Trend: Buick will Replace Saturn as Opel's Global Partner

Saturn's future does seem to be on the rocks these days.

I think GM would be wise to merge Buick and Saturn rather than kill a good brand. Even my Honda loving friends like what Saturn is doing now.

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Old 12-02-2008, 11:42 PM   #7
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Default Re: Motor Trend: Buick will Replace Saturn as Opel's Global Partner

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Trip down memory lane..I remember this ad.

My best friend in High School did have an Opel 1900 wagon..thought it was kinda cool.
I grew up with a 1973 Opel Wagon from the time I was three till I went to college. I was ashame to be seen in that when I was a teenager but develop an appreciation for the car when I was in my 20's. I believe my dad would still be driving it today if the frame has not rusted out and made it unsafe. It is now park in the wood behind my dad's house, however, I believe the thing would start up if your tried.

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Old 12-02-2008, 11:44 PM   #8
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Default Re: Motor Trend: Buick will Replace Saturn as Opel's Global Partner

buick will get opel again because saturn is probably done. very sad to say. as of today gm dealers can sell saturns as certified and as of a month or so ago they can warranty saturns. gm will concentrate on chev, buick, gmc and chevrolet. pontiac will stay as a specialty car. saab and hummer will be sold and saturn is done

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Old 12-03-2008, 12:24 AM   #9
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Default Re: Motor Trend: Buick will Replace Saturn as Opel's Global Partner

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Buick-Opel = it's the '70s all over again!
Just bring back the free love hippie chicks and perhaps it won't be so bad...

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Old 12-03-2008, 01:08 AM   #10
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Default Re: Motor Trend: Buick will Replace Saturn as Opel's Global Partner

They just don't learn, do they? They try taking Saturn, a brand known for affordable and economical small cars, into a trip upmarket by introducing european styling and driving style and are surprised when it doesn't work well (despite numerous awards for their vehicles) as the old fans feel they have been betrayed and the public at large doesn't even know Saturn is now upmarket when they're shopping for such a car. So what do they do? Well, they consider taking those european stylings and driving style (sporty ride, tight steering) directly into Buick, a brand known for big classic American cars with floaty ride and light steering for maximum cruising comfort.

That's like putting your hand in a fire, pulling it out, then after shaking it a bit, sticking it back in because you wonder "Ummm, is it still hot?".

If they want to keep trying Opel products here, stick with Saturn, don't start from scratch again! Wake up call: brands have certain images, if you stick a brand with vehicles that don't fit that image, you hurt the vehicle's sales and you damage the brand's image (unless it's crappy to start with).

I know they want to re-structure, but they shouldn't let panic dictate what they do. Before re-structuring, they should ask themselves "where do we want to go?" then re-structure in view of that objective, don't just let the accountants dictate the restructuration, that may postpone failure a few years, but won't correct the problem. Bean counters were the ones who argued that it was OK to save a few dollars settling for poorer interior materials that fit less well together, they figured it'd change nothing to what the car was in the end. They were partly right, but the thing is that most consumers, when faced with an ill-fitting and ugly-looking interior daily for a few years will start perceiving the cars as lower quality even if they are mechanically sound, and they'll be ready to fork a few bucks more to buy a car from another company just to have an impression of better quality, so that you are forced to sell discounted cars while others are making money even on their smaller offerings.

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Old 12-03-2008, 01:19 AM   #11
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Default Re: Motor Trend: Buick will Replace Saturn as Opel's Global Partner

As I remember, Opel was a "captive import" sold exclusively thru Buick dealers in the 60's and 70's. It wasn't entirely successful, partly because they were seen as too expensive for a small car as compared to volkswagen, toyota, and the British imports--Austin,Triumph,MG. Eventually the Opel was replaced by a Japanese clone called "Opel by Isuzu" . That was a total flop and was dropped quickly. I just don't see this Opel-Buick rehash being any better this time. Oh, those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it!

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Old 12-03-2008, 01:48 AM   #12
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Default Re: Motor Trend: Buick will Replace Saturn as Opel's Global Partner

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sival View Post
They just don't learn, do they? They try taking Saturn, a brand known for affordable and economical small cars, into a trip upmarket by introducing european styling and driving style and are surprised when it doesn't work well (despite numerous awards for their vehicles) as the old fans feel they have been betrayed and the public at large doesn't even know Saturn is now upmarket when they're shopping for such a car. So what do they do? Well, they consider taking those european stylings and driving style (sporty ride, tight steering) directly into Buick, a brand known for big classic American cars with floaty ride and light steering for maximum cruising comfort.

That's like putting your hand in a fire, pulling it out, then after shaking it a bit, sticking it back in because you wonder "Ummm, is it still hot?".

If they want to keep trying Opel products here, stick with Saturn, don't start from scratch again! Wake up call: brands have certain images, if you stick a brand with vehicles that don't fit that image, you hurt the vehicle's sales and you damage the brand's image (unless it's crappy to start with).

I know they want to re-structure, but they shouldn't let panic dictate what they do. Before re-structuring, they should ask themselves "where do we want to go?" then re-structure in view of that objective, don't just let the accountants dictate the restructuration, that may postpone failure a few years, but won't correct the problem. Bean counters were the ones who argued that it was OK to save a few dollars settling for poorer interior materials that fit less well together, they figured it'd change nothing to what the car was in the end. They were partly right, but the thing is that most consumers, when faced with an ill-fitting and ugly-looking interior daily for a few years will start perceiving the cars as lower quality even if they are mechanically sound, and they'll be ready to fork a few bucks more to buy a car from another company just to have an impression of better quality, so that you are forced to sell discounted cars while others are making money even on their smaller offerings.

Well stated.. New Vision mode/Crisis/Panic/Bean Counter mode/ and repeat

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Old 12-03-2008, 01:57 AM   #13
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Default Re: Motor Trend: Buick will Replace Saturn as Opel's Global Partner

More schizophrenia from GM. How in the world do they ever expect to rebuild and maintain a loyal customer base when they keep playing these brand-name shell games?

Buick has a very stodgy image here in the US and I never fully understood why it didn't get the axe instead of, or along with, Oldsmobile. I assume GM clings to it like grim death because it has a foothold in China, but again, that's by GM's choice. I just don't see much overlap in the Buick/Saturn/Opel demographic. If they think significant numbers of younger, "hipper", Euro car-type customers will buy something with the Buick name on it, regardless of whether it's an Opel underneath, I think they may be sadly mistaken.

Of course, once Olds was taken out back and shot, GM realized it left a hole in their line-up. Ooops! Didn't see that coming. New plan - move Saturn up into the Olds slot with the help of GM's "international" platforms. Woot! Good idea. That plan lasted almost long enough to get fully implemented, but not long enough for the general public to figure out who the "new" Saturn was, then boom! Time to kill Saturn! You gotta admit, it's sheer genius. In one swift move GM can further alienate millions of old customers and lose/confuse millions of potential new ones. Talk about rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic...

I'm no marketing guru, but it seems to me a merged Pontiac/Saturn niche division that sold Holden/Opel products would have more chance of something resembling market success than anything with a Buick name on it. Of course, GM would kill or rename the whole thing before it had a chance to establish itself, gain a loyal following, and succeed anyway, so the whole thing is just another exercise in GM marketing futility.

Last edited by ohioguy98; 12-03-2008 at 02:10 AM..

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Old 12-03-2008, 10:48 AM   #14
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Default Re: Motor Trend: Buick will Replace Saturn as Opel's Global Partner

Apparently GM doesn't get it. Moving brands upmarket does not fill the void they have at the bottom of the market. No bailout for you, just corporate Darwinism.

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Old 12-03-2008, 11:08 AM   #15
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Default Re: Motor Trend: Buick will Replace Saturn as Opel's Global Partner

Let Buick have Opel... GM will be shutting Buick down next after wasting more money.

Don't these idiots remember Opel's didn't sell 30-40 years ago in America, and the Saturn Astra proves that this has not changed.

They should leave Saturn alone, keeping Saturn does not significantly raise GM's overhead since they're just rebadged GM chassis. This can continue.

IMO if GM would have not tried the Opel experiment, and kept the ION; Saturn's sales would have been significantly higher and we probably wouldn't be where we are today.

The Astra seems to have been the last nail in Saturn's coffin.

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Old 12-05-2008, 09:17 AM   #16
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Default Buick will represent Opel brand in America

Todd Lassa from Motor Trend says that his magazine will report in its January 2009 issue that "Saturn's connection with Opel styling is over. Following the current wave of Saturns, Opel styling will merge with Buick's." Why? The reasons Lassa says make a lot of sense. "First, GM wants to push Opel back upmarket," he says. "Buick, which was once a slight step below Cadillac in prestige, has countered Cadillac's edgy Art & Science styling with more rounded, voluptuous sheetmetal... like on the new Opel Insignia. In both styling and interior quality, the Insignia would have made a perfectly decent 2010 LaCrosse (or Invicta). And smaller Opels already are built as Buicks for the latter brand's biggest market, China."

The Opel connection is what killed Saturn,now you can debate all you want on the divisions expected demise,but sales in the Saturn division were never resparked by rebadging the Opel cars as Saturns.The death of Saturn was long in coming,the decision to create the new Saturn was the final nail in the coffin.They no longer offer an affordable option for car buyers,their supposed base car the astra is expensive compared to its comperably equipted rivals.Straying from their original idea of a different kind of car company is what killed them.a different kind of car company wasn't supposed to mean a different kind of car company offering opels rebadged as saturns.it's sad to see Saturn going away,but it was in the cards all along.

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Old 12-05-2008, 09:31 AM   #17
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Default Re: Buick will represent Opel brand in America

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Todd Lassa from Motor Trend says that his magazine will report in its January 2009 issue that "Saturn's connection with Opel styling is over. Following the current wave of Saturns, Opel styling will merge with Buick's." Why? The reasons Lassa says make a lot of sense. "First, GM wants to push Opel back upmarket," he says. "Buick, which was once a slight step below Cadillac in prestige, has countered Cadillac's edgy Art & Science styling with more rounded, voluptuous sheetmetal... like on the new Opel Insignia. In both styling and interior quality, the Insignia would have made a perfectly decent 2010 LaCrosse (or Invicta). And smaller Opels already are built as Buicks for the latter brand's biggest market, China."

The Opel connection is what killed Saturn,now you can debate all you want on the divisions expected demise,but sales in the Saturn division were never resparked by rebadging the Opel cars as Saturns.The death of Saturn was long in coming,the decision to create the new Saturn was the final nail in the coffin.They no longer offer an affordable option for car buyers,their supposed base car the astra is expensive compared to its comperably equipted rivals.Straying from their original idea of a different kind of car company is what killed them.a different kind of car company wasn't supposed to mean a different kind of car company offering opels rebadged as saturns.it's sad to see Saturn going away,but it was in the cards all along.

Hmm...so I guess we'll see the 70 and 80 years old come out of the woodwork to buy MORE Buicks now...."Hey Bob, I just bought me a NEW Buick/Opel Astra!" (J/K)...Seriously though...the demographics of Buick owners are mostly people over the age of 65, no offence if you own a Buick.

Is the second part of your post your own thoughts or part of an article. It's hard to decipher if it's opinion or fact.

I don't necessarily think that Opel's connection with Saturn killed the brand. I think what would have been interesting, was if Opel had come back to America and instead of rebadging the Opel as a Saturn...maybe if Saturn sold Opels in America...so we would have seen the Opel Vectra, or what have you sold AS AN OPEL, THROUGH a Saturn Dealership.

I know at this point, it's wishful thinking, probably wouldn't have accomplished much, but if the Astra was built in America instead of BELGIUM....maybe it would have sold better. Who knows.

GM starved Saturn because they didn't believe it would be successful. Poor GM, most would say; but they got what they derseved. Not listening to the Consumer and poor management doesn't make for a good car company.

I DON'T want to see GM go under, but maybe this is a wakeup call to them. I WANT to see GM be successful again, but they really need to trim some executives and start working on what consumers WANT and NEED in a car/truck. Something that is dependable, runs well, looks good, and isn't made to look CHEAP inside (and I am NOT making a reference to Saturn there. I am merely commenting that numbers of people complain about how the interior of a Chevy feels, or a Buick feels nowadays compared to years past.)

Just my thoughts.

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Old 12-05-2008, 11:06 AM   #18
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Default Re: Buick will represent Opel brand in America

that was probably one of saturns downfalls. they never did get it across to people that we were upscale cars. they still think of us like a chev or a ford.

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Old 12-05-2008, 05:44 PM   #19
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Default Re: Buick will represent Opel brand in America

I don't think it was the Opel designs that killed Saturn, I think it was the entire period from the mid 90s to the early 00s where the brand had nearly no excitement. It was nearly forgotten.

By the time Saturn was given the Opel designs, it was too much, too late.

Also, advertising was lacking, and although the line up was revamped, it went nearly unnoticed.

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Old 12-05-2008, 05:53 PM   #20
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Default Re: Buick will represent Opel brand in America

If people wouldn't buy Opels rebadged as Saturns, what makes GM think that they will buy Opels rebadged as Buicks? IMO, Buick is a geriatric brand. It goes with Geritol, Metimucil, Ensure and the Jitterbug cell phone. I wouldn't buy one and I am close to retirement age.

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