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Old 05-31-2008, 04:23 PM   #1
robert4380
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Default Astra Not Catching On Yet Amidst Small Car Wave

Astra Not Catching On Yet Amidst Small Car Wave

Quote:
"While the perennially popular Honda Civic has a meager 48-day supply on dealers’ lots, and even the aging Kia Spectra saw a 16.7% increase in sales over last year during the month of April, the Astra is not faring as well. Dealers are sitting on a 236-day supply, says autotrader and Automotive News. Ouch."
(Source: Business Week, May 22, David Kiley)
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Old 05-31-2008, 04:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: Astra Not Catching On Yet Amidst Small Car Wave

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A new feeditems entry has been added:

[URL="http://www.businessweek.com/autos/autobeat/archives/2008/05/astra_not_catch.html"]Astra Not Catching On Yet Amidst Small Car Wave[/URL
(Source: Business Week, May 22, David Kiley)
Honda Fit, and Nissan Versa are hard to beat in this segment.
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Old 05-31-2008, 04:35 PM   #3
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Default Re: Astra Not Catching On Yet Amidst Small Car Wave

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Honda Fit, and Nissan Versa are hard to beat in this segment.
Fit and Versa are B-segment cars with the Aveo. Astra is C-segment. Not in the same class.
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Old 05-31-2008, 05:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: Astra Not Catching On Yet Amidst Small Car Wave

Quote:
the Astra is not faring as well. Dealers are sitting on a 236-day supply, says autotrader and Automotive News. Ouch."
As far as I can tell, Saturn dealers are currently sitting on an approximately 0-day supply of 5-dr Astras with premium trim.
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Old 05-31-2008, 09:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: Astra Not Catching On Yet Amidst Small Car Wave

My son bought an Astra a week ago. Dealer had a lot of XE models but had to hunt for the 5 door XR. Found one and all is well.
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Old 06-02-2008, 08:05 AM   #6
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Default Re: Astra Not Catching On Yet Amidst Small Car Wave

Yea, well try to find a 5 door XR with a MANUAL transmission, heated seats and a moon roof and guess what? You wont find any. I even check out the Saturn of Columbus, OH. Not a one. I guess Americans STILL do not know how to drive a manual car enough to have a dealer stock up on that inventory. Only in America. We "claim" we want better fuel economy cars, but we refuse to order and drive vehicles where the transmission change alone rates a nearly 10% improvement in fuel economy. Stupid.
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Old 06-02-2008, 09:18 AM   #7
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Default Re: Astra Not Catching On Yet Amidst Small Car Wave

At my local Saturn store, my sales consultant told me they had anticipated most 5-dr buyers would want the automatic and most 3 dr buyers would want the manual, but it was working the opposite, with more manual 5-drs selling than manual 3-drs. They didn't have what I wanted (manual, leather, sport handling) in a 5 dr, so I had to order one.

I think we're in somewhat of a self-perpetuating cycle. More people prefer automatics (many of the younger people have never seen a manual transmission), so dealers order more automatics. Buyers come onto the lot, only find autos, so that's what they buy. Thus reinforcing the dealer's perception that the public wants automatics. It's almost to the point where if you want the "standard" transmission, it's a special order.

I was at a Hyundai dealer a couple years ago, checking out the Elantras. They had 40 on the lot and not one was a manual. When I told him I would only buy a manual, he just couldn't understand that, almost to the point of insulting me. It's like I had come in asking for the newest horse and buggy model. He tried to sell me a Sonata with some kind of quasi-manual feature. I assured him I would not buy a car that didn't have a clutch and then got myself out of there.
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Old 06-02-2008, 09:33 AM   #8
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Default Re: Astra Not Catching On Yet Amidst Small Car Wave

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Originally Posted by GM Sky Man View Post
Only in America. We "claim" we want better fuel economy cars, but we refuse to order and drive vehicles where the transmission change alone rates a nearly 10% improvement in fuel economy. Stupid.
This guy get's a cookie.(er, cake)
Most people here know I agree with his line of thinking.
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Old 06-02-2008, 09:54 AM   #9
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Default Re: Astra Not Catching On Yet Amidst Small Car Wave

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Originally Posted by unkle bik View Post
This guy get's a cookie.(er, cake)
Most people here know I agree with his line of thinking.
Absolutely agree. But: all sense of actually controlling the automobile by way of the driver has been gradually usurped by: ABS, Stability Control, Power steering, brakes, locks, windows, cruise control, On Star,traction control plus silliness like remote keyless entry and rain sensing wipers that we're are so far removed from the actual act of driving our vehicles, they've become sort of passive video game.

Anything less than total automation would get in the way of using the cell phone. A sorry state of affairs.

The public has been so brainwashed into thinking we can't live without all the frippery and gadgets and live by the motto: "He who dies with the most toys,wins", that to drive a manual suggests we can't afford any better. Which is nonsense of course, but what we say and what we actually do are two different things.

Last edited by Citation84; 06-02-2008 at 10:05 AM.
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Old 06-02-2008, 09:57 AM   #10
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Default Re: Astra Not Catching On Yet Amidst Small Car Wave

Quote:
Originally Posted by GM Sky Man View Post
We "claim" we want better fuel economy cars, but we refuse to order and drive vehicles where the transmission change alone rates a nearly 10% improvement in fuel economy. Stupid.
If you check the original unrounded EPA data, you'll see that they've determined that the manual Astra has a 2% improvement in fuel economy over the automatic Astra for average drivers, not nearly 10%. From my perspective, there are many ways to cut my fuel consumption by 2% that are a lot less of a hassle than dealing with a manual transmission in stop-and-go freeway traffic.
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:35 AM   #11
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Default Re: Astra Not Catching On Yet Amidst Small Car Wave

Many good points expressed here. If I purchased an Astra, I would definitely go for the manual tranny because sticks are more fun to drive. My Aura would be a stick if there was such a thing.

I'm disappointed that the Astras aren't selling as well as expected. I was at my dealer getting an oil change on Saturday and I sat in one of the Astras on the floor. I really like it. As I've stressed before, GM needs to advertise the Astra more. Ford's Focus is selling so well, they had to increase production. Is it because it's such a nice looking car? I don't think so. It's because Ford is advertising it more....
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:52 AM   #12
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Default Re: Astra Not Catching On Yet Amidst Small Car Wave

It's not catching because there's no advertising for it. I have not seen one commercial or one ad in the auto rags for it, at all. They have the Vue and Aura commericals, but nothing for the Astra at all. Heck, I didn't even know the Astra was a small car when I started looking until my sister-in-law told me about it, and she works for Saturn.

GM/Saturn did a great job bringing it over with minimal changes to it but are shooting themselves in the foot at the same time with the lack of advertising. Whoever works/runs the marketing department at Saturn, get on the ball and get the advertising out there. I know there's budgets and all that but come one, the Astra has been out for how long now?

Advertise, people! ADVERTISE!
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Old 06-02-2008, 12:48 PM   #13
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Default Re: Astra Not Catching On Yet Amidst Small Car Wave

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It's not catching because there's no advertising for it. I have not seen one commercial or one ad in the auto rags for it, at all. They have the Vue and Aura commericals, but nothing for the Astra at all.

GM/Saturn did a great job bringing it over with minimal changes to it but are shooting themselves in the foot at the same time with the lack of advertising. Whoever works/runs the marketing department at Saturn, get on the ball and get the advertising out there. I know there's budgets and all that but come one, the Astra has been out for how long now?

Advertise, people! ADVERTISE!
BINGO!!!!

How often are we bombarded every hour with another civic/speculum/corrolla commercial?

The way GM advertises the Astra is if they have a plan to kill it before they build it in Medico....
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Old 06-02-2008, 01:10 PM   #14
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Default Re: Astra Not Catching On Yet Amidst Small Car Wave

Yes they need to advertise the car more as everyone has said.. I emailed Saturn and asked them why in the world aren't they advertising more.. The reviews have been great and they finally have a car that can hold its own with Honda and Toyota..

They emailed me back, Thanked me for my comment and sent a coupon for 2 free oil changes...
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Old 06-02-2008, 01:19 PM   #15
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Information Re: Astra Not Catching On Yet Amidst Small Car Wave

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Originally Posted by unkle bik View Post
BINGO!!!!

How often are we bombarded every hour with another civic/speculum/corrolla commercial?

The way GM advertises the Astra is if they have a plan to kill it before they build it in Medico....
Wait a minute. Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't GM decide to only build 40,000 astras for the North American market? It feels like the are not trying very hard.

But, they have more than their share of ad's. In fact, half of the news articles on the Saturn fans front page are about the astra. The astra is getting exposure. The "civic/speculum/corrolla " are selling 10 times as many cars. Accordlingly, they have a bigger budgets. Carrolla, and Civic sold 110K cars last year in Canada alone.

What's a "speculum" ??
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Old 06-02-2008, 01:34 PM   #16
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Default Re: Astra Not Catching On Yet Amidst Small Car Wave

I had heard that the reason why GM and/or Saturn isn't pushing the Astra as much is because they are losing money on every Astra that is sold until they make them here.

(Wrotten excuse if you ask me.)
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Old 06-02-2008, 03:22 PM   #17
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Default Re: Astra Not Catching On Yet Amidst Small Car Wave

You're not going to move Astras that have no good lease programs or other incentives when better-equipped Vues and Auras can be had for far less.
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:36 PM   #18
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Default Re: Astra Not Catching On Yet Amidst Small Car Wave

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Fit and Versa are B-segment cars with the Aveo. Astra is C-segment. Not in the same class.
I never put them side by side, but they look like peas in a pod... There couldn't be that much difference...

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Old 06-02-2008, 06:32 PM   #19
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Default Re: Astra Not Catching On Yet Amidst Small Car Wave

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I think we're in somewhat of a self-perpetuating cycle. More people prefer automatics (many of the younger people have never seen a manual transmission), so dealers order more automatics. Buyers come onto the lot, only find autos, so that's what they buy. Thus reinforcing the dealer's perception that the public wants automatics. It's almost to the point where if you want the "standard" transmission, it's a special order.

I was at a Hyundai dealer a couple years ago, checking out the Elantras. They had 40 on the lot and not one was a manual. When I told him I would only buy a manual, he just couldn't understand that, almost to the point of insulting me. It's like I had come in asking for the newest horse and buggy model. He tried to sell me a Sonata with some kind of quasi-manual feature. I assured him I would not buy a car that didn't have a clutch and then got myself out of there.
When my manual '97 SC2 bit the dust this past October, I had a similar experience. None of the Honda dealers I contacted could locate an '08 Civic EX-L in manual. Although all of them were too polite to tell me to settle for an automatic. There was a single fully loaded black one available in this region, but I refused to accept roasting in black, and paying their outrageous price for a navigation system. By the time they finally found one, the Astra had arrived on the dealer lots and decided I liked thinking different.

True enough, manuals no longer have the significantly better gas mileage advantage over the automatics, but now it's a difference between actually driving your car and just riding in it like at an amusement park. It's still a little mind boggling for me to go from my SC2 to my Astra, where I no longer have to turn on/off my headlights, hold down my turn signal stalk while I change lanes, fiddle with the radio volume as things get noisier or quieter, keep the battery for accessories on while I close the windows and sunroof, etc., and all thanks to the myriad of creature comforts and safety features that have developed in the decade between my two Saturns.

Different cars for different folks ... maybe the Astra will find its niche, but we Astranauts have certainly found our car.
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Old 06-02-2008, 06:48 PM   #20
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Default Re: Astra Not Catching On Yet Amidst Small Car Wave

While it's true that there isn't the huge mileage disparity any longer between manual and automatic transmissions, I still prefer a manual because it makes the car feel like it has more power and is more zippy. Everything I've read says that the Astra's four speed auto really saps this car. Now if only mid-Michigan area dealers would get in more three door XRs with manuals! I'm still on the fence about this car, but I know for certain I'd never take it in an automatic.
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