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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I can't access the article (Automotive News requires premium subscription), so this isn't a news article... but I read that the problem with Saturn isn't that people won't consider it (which is bad enough), but that people aren't even aware of it. Many people in costal markets couldn't identify Saturn vehicles.

The article also states that sales are down so far this year by 15%... which tells me that while Saturn's fate is difficult enough (being unknown), it's worsened by the fact that GM has filled the division with the wrong vehicles. Apparently people were happier with the L-series and S-series / Ion and old Vue than they are with the new crop. I don't care how good the Aura is... fewer people want it thanh the L-series. That means GM made a mistake. The goal in redesigning / replacing a model isn't to win awards... it's to sell more units.

So GM took an 'unknown' brand and filled it with products that the few people that knew about didn't want... sounds like a perfect formula for failure. It is a gamble to give a well-known brand product that their typical customers don't want (Hyundai with the Azera and Genesis, for example), and it is also a gamble to give an unknown brand regular, desirable product (say something like a Camry from Scion)... but GM pulled a double-gamble with the revamped Saturn. And it didn't pay off, as the 15% drop in sales shows so clearly.

Yes, we've discussed this a billion times, but this article on the fact that Saturn is unknown makes me wonder just what the heck GM was thinking. The Aura would have made an awfully nice G6, and would easily be selling double what it is at Saturn. Oh yes, right, all those inroads Saturn is making into the garages of import fans... sorry, I don't believe it. If they had to ditch thousands of old Saturn fans to replace them with fewer import fans they aren't any further ahead.
 

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IMHO if GM supported its other Divisions as much as Saturn during the past 20 years or so, emphaized cars like they are now doing, and made GMAC concentrate on the auto business instead of getting involed with unrelated and unregulated mortage business they would now be enjoying over 40% market share and be very profitable. Someday, sooner than later, they'll also be adding China to their list of worries.
 

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You can't say people were happier with the L-series, or that they don't want the new products. If they are not aware of the product, they don't know if they like it or not.
 

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I'm not entirely surprised by this. I somewhat expected that Saturn would have a difficult time on the marketing side once they got a full line of good products. GM is going to have to dump a TON of marketing dollars into Saturn or the brand is going to have to weather a period of time (5 years or so?) of so-so sales because no one knows they have changed.

The other option on the table would be to carry over the Opel nameplate to Saturn. That would still require a whole lot of marketing, but at least then they could tie up a new brand image...and not have to recreate a brand image. That is difficult to do in today's market, when perception usually rules all.
 

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Who??
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You can't say people were happier with the L-series, or that they don't want the new products. If they are not aware of the product, they don't know if they like it or not.
In its best year ever (1994) Saturn sold 286,000 S-series. Sure it came in three versions (sedan, coupe, and wagon), but it outsold the entire Saturn lineup last year (240,091 units), which included 7 models: Aura, Ion sedan and coupe, Sky, Outlook, Vue, and Relay.

If Saturn had 286,000 eager fans in 1994, where did they go? Why aren't they snapping up Auras and Outlooks today? If GM did right by Saturn and gave them the product they needed, why isn't the brand selling better than in 1994? What I don't get in the whole Saturn story is how is it that they're more unknown now than in 1994?

Can anyone really tell me that Saturn is a case of how best to handle an automotive division?!?
 

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Apparently people were happier with the L-series and S-series / Ion and old Vue than they are with the new crop. I don't care how good the Aura is... fewer people want it thanh the L-series.
Well, maybe the people who bought an S or L or Ion aren't happy -- or else they would be coming back to Saturn, wouldn't they?
 

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The only reason Saturn still exists is because it was cheaper to kill Olds than Saturn. And Oldsmobile had OLD in it's name, which didn't help it's case.

The old Saturn is dead...long live Saturn, I guess. :eek:

I love Saturn, presonally. My mom has one. I've owned one myself. My sister has had 3. Some of my best friends work or have worked at the local Saturn dealership...but in all honesty, it's the one division GM needs the least right now. Chevy could have a couple of re-badged Opels if needed. Killing off Saturn and GMC would not be a bad idea IMO.
 

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Why does GM not let brands keep their own money and work their own marketing into things? That way, thy do not have to come begging for advertising dollars.
 

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That is a shame as now that Saturns are Opels they are both attractive and well built. I wonder why GM perennially makes SO many decisions that contribute to its decline as a corporation while further eroding market share? Sometimes I think they harbor some kind of Freudian death wish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, maybe the people who bought an S or L or Ion aren't happy -- or else they would be coming back to Saturn, wouldn't they?
Even if that's the case, I still don't get GM's gameplan for Saturn. If it was a dud and no one wanted the more or less affordable vehicles they had, who on earth thought that the best way to go was to go upmarket? Did they really expect that people who weren't happy with their L-series and S-series and Ion would line up to spend bigger bucks on another Saturn? If Saturn was damaged, they should have revamped Pontiac... same old bagage, but much larger dealership network!
 

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I think what made Saturn sell so many cars initially was a great marketing campaign and the dealership experience. They have neither now so is it a surprise that their market isn't there either?
 

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LOL!

The only reason Saturn still exists is because it was cheaper to kill Olds than Saturn. And Oldsmobile had OLD in it's name, which didn't help it's case.
I've never heard that Olds was cheaper to kill. It seems it would be more expensive with the more dealers. Is it because Saturn stores were/are usually independent?
 

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I had a 1993 SL2 that was loaded and I loved that car, it is a shame that people still think of Saturn as a small plastic paneled company.

This last weekend I test drove an Astra 5 door, and a Sky Turbo X. Saturn has come a long way and I can only see them slowly getting seen. Too bad it is a lot slower then I have thought it would be.
 

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GM killed Olds, during severe criticism from Wall St. to make a change in their Business Plan. The decision was made about one month after they offered their Olds dealers a new five year franchise, making it seem like a very impulsive move. Alternatively, keeping Saturn could be a very compulsive move, predicated on internal and external political considerations. After all, it was Roger Smith's "baby" and he still sat on the GM Board until very recently. And who can forget the news, if true, in Fl a few years ago about GM owning a substantial "temporary" interest in a multi- Saturn dealer's business.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I wish Saturn had redone the S-series... with another a small sedan, coupe, and wagon. They could have added a convertible, 2-seater, mini pickup, small CUV, all based on the same basic design. Saturn should have stayed cool and young and different... they could have pushed the plastic / enviro / economical angle.
 

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Saturn? What's a Saturn?
 

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Saturn? What's a Saturn?
Saturn (pronounced /ˈsætɚn/[9]) is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second largest planet in the Solar System, after Jupiter. Along with the planets Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune it is classified as a gas giant (also known as a Jovian planet, after the planet Jupiter). It was named after the Roman god Saturnus, equated to the Greek Kronos (the Titan father of Zeus) and the Babylonian Ninurta. Saturn's symbol represents the god's sickle (Unicode: ♄).
From Wiki!
 

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I wish Saturn had redone the S-series... with another a small sedan, coupe, and wagon. They could have added a convertible, 2-seater, mini pickup, small CUV, all based on the same basic design. Saturn should have stayed cool and young and different... they could have pushed the plastic / enviro / economical angle.
I have to agree. Right now Saturn is straddling two images if you will. GM is hell-bent on aligning Saturn and Opel; unifying the two, but naturally the two are not going to unify overnight. It is impossible to do such. That is why we have an American-ish Aura and the Outlook. I think once the two totally unify (we have the as-is Insignia/Aura, the Outlook dies, etc)...Saturn will be better off.

They need to have a clear direction to go. Right not they have their clear direction as a goal, but it is not a reality just yet because of logistical issues. Once they get an all-Opel lineup they need to do some MASSIVE marketing.

If they can't accomplish this, they should have stuck with their previous life.
 
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