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Old 12-06-2008, 05:16 PM   #1
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Default Report: With Retailer Support, Saturn Could Return to its Roots and Get Another Lease

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Report: With Retailer Support, Saturn Could Return to its Roots and Get Another Lease on Life at GM

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The headline of an article in the Los Angeles Times two days ago read like many other articles published in newspapers and blogs all over the Web this week: "GM may pull plug on Saturn." But if you read the whole story written by Ken Bensinger, the article painted a much more optimistic picture for Saturn - one that's been overshadowed by the drama on Capitol Hill and the countless reports that speculate Saturn's days are numbered.

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Old 12-06-2008, 08:01 PM   #2
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Default Re: Report: With Retailer Support, Saturn Could Return to its Roots and Get Another L

Not sure if the Agila, Corsa, and Meriva would support a brand.
Tiny cars still don't sell well here.
The entire Opel line would have to be sold in the US

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Old 12-06-2008, 08:06 PM   #3
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Default Re: Report: With Retailer Support, Saturn Could Return to its Roots and Get Another L

I think that if Saturn builds only small cars, they will end up as they began with something like a huge satisfaction rating among owners with 90% saying they won't buy another one because they aren't big enough for the family. I think they need to keep the Aura or something similar for families to trade up to. If the article is correctly understanding Saturn's customer demographic, then it will follow that a family that has out grown the small Saturn will probably trade up to a Toyota rather than a Chevy. Saturn not only needs to have a product to compete in the sub-compact and compact size, they better compete head on with the Toyota Camry or die. Of course, knowing the stupidity I've seen from GM, it wouldn't surprise me if their business objective isn't to be the car company that gets the entry level customer who is then able to step up to Toyota.

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Old 12-06-2008, 08:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: Report: With Retailer Support, Saturn Could Return to its Roots and Get Another L

Saturn was never positioned to become a full scale division with redundant products that are just variants of Chevy, Buicks, Pontiacs, etc. It should have developed its niche market, rather than trying to go mainstream. Eliminating defining features like the polymer panels and therefore killing Saturn's identity sealed its fate, imo. The attempt to convert it to an Opel retailer might've worked if they brought over the entire Opel lineup, and did it at a time when the economy wasn't collapsing. But I personally still wouldn't have been interested. I was a fan of the old Saturn due to attributes which GM has since eliminated.

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Old 12-06-2008, 08:44 PM   #5
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Default Re: Report: With Retailer Support, Saturn Could Return to its Roots and Get Another L

I agree with the previous post about polymer. If Saturn lives on and I highly doubt that they will, would they go back to polymer? No matter what they try in this economy I really don't think it will work. At this point, even with polymer, I think it is too little too late.

By the way, I wonder what happened to all the polymer making equipment from Spring Hill.

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Old 12-06-2008, 09:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: Report: With Retailer Support, Saturn Could Return to its Roots and Get Another L

Unless GM can come up with "Bio-Polymer", I don't see it returning. Polymer was a petroleum based product. If they can make it out of soybeans, there you go, a new niche will be born.

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Old 12-06-2008, 09:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: Report: With Retailer Support, Saturn Could Return to its Roots and Get Another L

Saturn was originally designed to be a niche product offered by General Motors to compete directly with the foreign (Honda, Toyota, Nissan) competition. Saturn was to be a benchmark for domestic automobiles and share their technology with the rest of General Motors. Obviously that never happened. Instead, Saturn has more or less become just another GM division. Don't get me wrong, I really like the current Saturn portfolio. I don't like that Saturn doesn't completely stand out from most of GM's other divisions. Think Saturn and Chevrolet: Outlook vs. Traverse or Aura vs. Malibu.

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Old 12-06-2008, 09:29 PM   #8
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Default Re: Report: With Retailer Support, Saturn Could Return to its Roots and Get Another L

Not just the plastic; they would have to invest in yet another bespoke spaceframe type chassis for the car as plastic is not very good at load bearing. My plastic car that does not have a spaceframe is riddled with stress cracks.

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Old 12-06-2008, 11:23 PM   #9
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Default Re: Report: With Retailer Support, Saturn Could Return to its Roots and Get Another L

Hey Everyone! I want you all to rememeber one important thing...
"TRUST DOESN'T RUST!"

We have all stood by our Saturns and our Saturn Dealerships. Now is the time to do just that! If GM is smart and the EXECs at Saturn have their voices heard Saturn will go back to being the small car division that creates all the technology that eventually become standard in other GM models!

Remember that Saturn was responsible for the EV1 and the successful intergration of an electric car into society...it was eventually GM and the other big automakers along with Big Oil who killed the car! But the project was given to Saturn to develop and they were successful as they always are!

Have hope Saturn fans!

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Old 12-07-2008, 12:48 AM   #10
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Default Re: Report: With Retailer Support, Saturn Could Return to its Roots and Get Another L

There's one important thing to remember here, though: GM's considering shutting down Saturn because it's losing $, not because they don't like it.

VTHokie's right: somewhere along the way Saturn lost their identity. They tried switching to a "Euro" flavor and IMHO the designs they came up with - the Aura, the Outlook, and the new VUE - all look spectacular (the Astra less so). But at that point, the public had just seemed to have forgotten about Saturn. More than a year after it was out most people had never heard of the Aura, even though it won the North American Car of the Year award. Their advertising was always incredibly boring too.

Let's see what happens!

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Old 12-07-2008, 12:53 AM   #11
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Default Re: Report: With Retailer Support, Saturn Could Return to its Roots and Get Another L

It always has been a problem of economics and financing for Saturn. Maybe GM ought to take a page out of Obama's book and raise the necessary investment capital for Saturn by making it a populist product and soliciting MANY small investments for the promise of a return to something really different that works for many of us. People often do magical things for something they can really believe in. Saturn needs to return to its original promise of cooperation, respect and innovation and the customers and money will follow. You betcha!!!!

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Old 12-07-2008, 12:55 AM   #12
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Default Re: Report: With Retailer Support, Saturn Could Return to its Roots and Get Another L

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There's one important thing to remember here, though: GM's considering shutting down Saturn because it's losing $, not because they don't like it.

VTHokie's right: somewhere along the way Saturn lost their identity. They tried switching to a "Euro" flavor and IMHO the designs they came up with - the Aura, the Outlook, and the new VUE - all look spectacular (the Astra less so). But at that point, the public had just seemed to have forgotten about Saturn. More than a year after it was out most people had never heard of the Aura, even though it won the North American Car of the Year award. Their advertising was always incredibly boring too.

Let's see what happens!
I think the current models are all (except the Outlook IMHO) outstanding designs. I even like the Astra, at least the exterior...the interior I don't like so much, a little too blah.

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Old 12-07-2008, 07:00 AM   #13
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Default Re: Report: With Retailer Support, Saturn Could Return to its Roots and Get Another L

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Unless GM can come up with "Bio-Polymer", I don't see it returning. Polymer was a petroleum based product. If they can make it out of soybeans, there you go, a new niche will be born.
Henry Ford was trying this in the 30s or 40s but it was too brittle to use and I think shattered at frezing temperatures. The tech has probably improved a bit in 60-70 years though.

Saturn#5: Saturn didn't develop the EV1, GM did. Saturn was chosen by GM to sell it as they were at one time, a "different kind of car company". It seemed like a better fit than their other divisions.

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Old 12-07-2008, 12:49 PM   #14
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Default Re: Report: With Retailer Support, Saturn Could Return to its Roots and Get Another L

Correct....point being that Saturn was the correct division to sell / market the car...same as in today's world. A Chevy Volt...just doesn't sound so exciting...

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Old 12-07-2008, 01:12 PM   #15
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Default Re: Report: With Retailer Support, Saturn Could Return to its Roots and Get Another L

Saturn is not going anywhere.

What will likely happen is a widening of distribution to Buick and/or Pontiac dealers. Saturn needs to expand it's dealer numbers and that is the only way to do it in the current environment.

The Saturn brand will only grow in my opinion.

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Old 12-07-2008, 01:52 PM   #16
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Default Re: Report: With Retailer Support, Saturn Could Return to its Roots and Get Another L

I hope Saturn does go closer to the way it used to be. Even though the Outlook is nice; it's too big. The biggest vehicle should be the Vue. I agree that Saturn should focus on the smaller fuel efficient cars. The Corsa and Meriva could be a great success along with the Astra and Vue.

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Old 12-07-2008, 04:29 PM   #17
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Default Re: Report: With Retailer Support, Saturn Could Return to its Roots and Get Another L

they might even go back to the old slogan: "a different kind of company, a different kind of car"

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Old 12-08-2008, 07:00 AM   #18
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Default Re: Report: With Retailer Support, Saturn Could Return to its Roots and Get Another L

I really believe Saturn should go back to its roots as a producer of sensible, easy to maintain vehicles made in the USA.

My Saturn experience ended with the 2000 LS based on German garbage engineering.

Get rid of the overgadgeted, unreliable German crap and become a niche producer of good cars for sensible customers and fleet operators.

There are enough companies piling junk into cars making them less economical and harder to maintain.

"A different kind of car A different kind of company".

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Old 12-10-2008, 01:17 PM   #19
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Default Re: Report: With Retailer Support, Saturn Could Return to its Roots and Get Another L

Does this mean Saturn might still have a chance? I hope so.

I agree that Saturn should just sell subcompact and compact cars. Make it a small "niche" brand similar to Scion; they only have three models and (as far as I know) they are doing fine. Also, please put more effort into keeping Saturns UNIQUE from other GM models. The Aura was doing fine until the Chevy Malibu came along and sucked the Aura's sales dry. Stupid Malibu!!!

Definitely scrap the Outlook. It is WAY too big, if fits better with Chevy. The SKY might sadly have to go. Unless if they make the next-generation cheaper. Highly unlikely. It is too expensive to make. If you plan to keep the Aura, make it unique. Give it it's own platform and unique styling. The Vue should stay. It is Saturn's best-selling model right now (I think).

I don't know about the Astra...it's nice but WAY too expensive. If Saturn builds it's own version here, would it be cheaper? Also, give it more engine and tranny options, that is one big reason why it isn't selling.

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