Saturn: GM's New Bright Spot

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Thread: Saturn: GM's New Bright Spot

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    Saturn: GM's New Bright Spot

    Saturn: GM's New Bright Spot
    April 14, 2006
    By: NSAP
    www.gminsidenews.com


    I just finished watching the unveil of the all-new Saturn Sky Red Line, Outlook, and Aura from the New York International Auto Show. One thing that stuck with me from that press conference was the excitement and emotion that Saturn Brand Manager Jill Lajdziak had for the division’s revitalization. It’s unusual to see true excitement from auto company executives when unveiling new product, but it was quite evident that Ms. Lajdziak is excited and ready to revitalize Saturn, which in the end is only going to help them. I have to admit, I am just as excited for the future of Saturn as GM.

    No questions asked the one thing that is going to help Saturn the best is their business reputation; when it comes to customer service and pricing, Saturn will not be beat, and according to surveys, that alone attracts conquest customers. Not to mention that a stellar sales and service experience is a recipe for loyal, long-lasting customers. People are saying, “well, import customers won’t flock to Saturn.” Think about it, if the “old” Saturn could manage to snag import owners (which it did so relatively well), how could the new Saturn, with awesome new products; not steal some conquest buyers?

    I was very skeptical of the Aura sports sedan in the days prior to it’s arrival. I was sure that the car would be another poor attempt at a midsize sedan by GM, but I was in fact wrong. The car has the safety features, design, interior, and powertrain to spark sales in the midsize segment. Many people are complaining that the car “isn’t true to the concept,” and to them I ask this; did you really expect it to? Insiders have been saying all along that the Red Line version of the Aura will look identical to the concept (down the 19” chrome wheels). In order for the car’s performance variant to look the part, they cannot have the base Aura looking just like it. Another thing I am seeing is that the car “doesn’t have all the features that the imports have.” While I’ll agree that the Aura should have optional Xenon headlights and dual-zone climate control (which I expect to see before the car hits lots), not every car is going to be equipped with every option. That’s the beauty of this industry- LOTS of choices. Will this car take sales from the “oh so wonderful” Camry and Accord? It’s really hard to tell, but one would think that all of the people that buy the Camry and Accord all the time would get tired of owning the same vanilla sedan that half the people on their block own. Maybe not, but if they do, the Aura would be a fine alternative.

    It’s a dead giveaway that the new Outlook crossover will steal sales from the Japanese imports. That product is (dare I say it!) near-perfect on paper and photograph. I can’t stress enough that the Outlook, Enclave, and Acadia all represent how GM is going to be executing every product from this point forward. No more half-ass attempts just to “get them by” like we have gotten in the past. I wouldn’t be surprised to see demand for the Outlook jump to levels that are usually reserved for niche products like the Sky. Why? Well, think about it… there are really no crossovers on the market that offer seating for eight comfortably, tons of space behind the third row, unique features (sliding second row), and that doesn’t look like a minivan or wagon. I can see a lot of minivan buyers flocking for the Outlook as well, just for the fact that it offers nearly as much room, but without the minivan looks. Judging from the response online from the Outlook (lots of “That will be in my garage!” comments), I feel this is going to be a BIG (no pun intended) product.

    Generally I don’t predict success of new products/lines, but I am making an exception this time; Saturn is going to be a hot brand and it is going to grab GM lots of conquest sales. The Outlook will probably steal the most conquest sales, but the arrival of the Vue and Aura Green Line models could steal quite a few as well.



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    Re: Saturn: GM's New Bright Spot

    Agreed. Saturn has a lot going for it. This is going to be a real test of Saturn. They've really never had good vehicles, yet they consistently sell lots of vehicles and grab a lot of conquests. The Saturn buyers are also VERY, VERY loyal.

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    Re: Saturn: GM's New Bright Spot

    Very good article, nsap. Very true, I agree with you on all points.

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    Re: Saturn: GM's New Bright Spot

    Those are some pretty nice cars. Almost makes me want to buy a new one...
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    Re: Saturn: GM's New Bright Spot

    The Aura has to get out from under the shadow of the L-series first. I fully expect all of the GM-hating auto reviewers out there to spend the first paragraph telling us how Saturn was supposed to be "different", and then telling us how the L-series was generally a flop, INSTEAD of actually reviewing the car on its merits first and foremost.

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    Re: Saturn: GM's New Bright Spot

    If these aren't hits, we might as well give up. After seeing several Auras at Fairfax the last couple months while visiting, it can't not be! Especially the top line model, wow!
    I don't know about the green lines though. After Ghosen's and Honda's comments this week about hybrids. Who knows?????
    We all know the press isn't going to be much help there, because they aren't full hybrids..........like Toyota.
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    Re: Saturn: GM's New Bright Spot

    I cannot wait until those cars hit my lot! We have been product starved for too long, we have always had the best shopping experience, now we have the product to go with it!

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    Re: Saturn: GM's New Bright Spot

    I can only say that I wish Saturn the very best. Here's to hoping that they help in the revitalization of General Motors.

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    Re: Saturn: GM's New Bright Spot

    As a person who's always admired Buick, I wish GM had focused this kind of attention on that brand first. However, I have no doubt that the effort used on Saturn will wash over into Buick, and to all the other GM brands. Perhaps they thought Saturn could be turned around the easiest. At any rate, the quality product coming out of Saturn is a great example of what GM can do when they really try.
    Last edited by JVal14; 04-17-2006 at 11:25 AM.

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    Re: Saturn: GM's New Bright Spot

    The Aura is the American Accord that we all needed. It may not steal that many Accord buyers but it will probably keep us from losing more domestic sales. The one thing it is lacking is metal trim in the interior in place of all the plood that covers the dash.

    The Outlook is a winner from every perspective. The styling is bold and unique. It doesn't look like a station wagon or like a minivan. The interior looks great. The packaging is perfect. This will take sales from the Pilot for sure.

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    Re: Saturn: GM's New Bright Spot

    Quote Originally Posted by boblutzfan
    The Aura is the American Accord that we all needed. It may not steal that many Accord buyers but it will probably keep us from losing more domestic sales. The one thing it is lacking is metal trim in the interior in place of all the plood that covers the dash.
    The wood trim is optional, you can get the same metal-like trim that was in the concept.

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    Re: Saturn: GM's New Bright Spot

    I think these cars the sky, Aura, and outlook, are all a fresh new youthful look for Saturn. This is a similar turnaround Cadi. did a few years back, it was very successfull for them, hopefully it's just as successfull for Saturn...and then maybe Buick can follow suit.....

    Joe

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    Re: Saturn: GM's New Bright Spot

    So is the Outlook a conceptual piece for the NY show or is it production ready as is?

    I wish the PreVue was production ready as is though!!!
    What is happening to the GM that grew up with for these many decades? If I could I would institute a hostile take over and kick the entire board and executives out and fill the positions with creative minds under the age of 35.

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    Re: Saturn: GM's New Bright Spot

    Quote Originally Posted by boblutzfan
    The Aura is the American Accord that we all needed. It may not steal that many Accord buyers but it will probably keep us from losing more domestic sales. The one thing it is lacking is metal trim in the interior in place of all the plood that covers the dash.

    The Outlook is a winner from every perspective. The styling is bold and unique. It doesn't look like a station wagon or like a minivan. The interior looks great. The packaging is perfect. This will take sales from the Pilot for sure.
    NSAP is right, you can get the metal-like trim in the Aura. Personally, I like the wood in the interior.

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    Re: Saturn: GM's New Bright Spot

    I think Saturn will influence the rest of GM. They definitely have a winner with the Aura. Maybe in a couple of years it will have the Xenon headlights.

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