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GMI Exclusive: 2010 Saturn Aura on "Hold"
http://www.gminsidenews.com
June 26, 2008



It is one of the most-anticipated new Saturn products to date. Nothing is more important than a brand's midsize sedan. While the current Saturn Aura received much fanfare during its launch in late 2006, sales have been only so-so. As most of our readership knows, Saturn was supposed to get one of the first Epsilon II cars in mid 2009 as a 2010 model. That has, however, potentially changed.

GMInsidenews has learned that GM has placed the far-along 2010 Saturn Aura program on HOLD. Last week the Fairfax, Kansas plant was notified of the change. Keep in mind that the plant has already received much of the tooling for the new product. What GMI is hearing is that GM has had second-thoughts on the program (we heard possibly to rethink the car's fuel economy?). At the current time no information has become available as to WHY, specifically, the program is now on hold when it is so far along.

Such a change so close to the product's launch is very unusual, but with all the shuffling going on at GM right now, we are not entirely surprised. This does bring up the question: will this delay the Aura’s launch? We have yet to hear that, but when you place such a car on hold when it is this far along…it will probably cause delays on the launch. The car was originally intended to launch in fall 2009 as a 2010 model-year vehicle.

Review: GMI has confirmed with four independent sources that the Aura program has been put on hold as-of last week. There is no word at this time as to what sparked the hold. Stay with GMINSIDENEWS for the latest as we are always getting information.
 

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Hmmm...this is curious, the Malibu with the 2.4 Ecotec and six speed gets good gas mileage. I figured that the new Aura would do well with that set up as well. Not to mention the fact that the car is all but done and the factory is practically ready to go.
 

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possibly waiting for a better tuned powerplant and 6 speed gearing changes to better MPG? Another thought, possibly needs tweaking on front/rear crash testing to meet US regs.
 

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Does this effect the Insignia? Maybe they want to debut the 9-5 before the Aura. That way one can say that the Aura is based off the same platform as Saab as opposed to the other way around.

If it is because of fuel economy issues, I am glad that they are devoting a lot of thought toward it, I guess.
 

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Like the saloon, the Insignia fastback will be available with both front and all wheel-drive. The AWD is fitted with the FlexRide mechatronic chassis system with its Adaptive Stability Technology, but is also optional for the FWD models. Seven engines will be offered at first, four petrol engines ranging from a 4-cylinder 115-bhp unit to a 260-bhp V6 and three new 2.0-litre direct-injection diesels ranging from 110 to 160 bhp.
Could it mean that and of the above powerplants might make it over here instead?
 

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As much as I like the Aura, GM is doing the right thing here and IMO what GM should do with the Saturn brand from now until 2012.

The 2010 Aura should become the 2010 Buick Regal (you only have to squint a little to see a Buick grille on the Insignia pictured) and from what I understand is what the Insignia will be sold as in China. This will give Buick a mid-size sedan with a 2.4L engine for MPG positioned below the Invicta and allow GM to ease the G6 out of production in favor of a RWD replacement.

What of the 2010-2012 Aura?

Keep the name but apply it to the Estate (Wagon) version of the Insignia and sell it as the Aura Avant, marketed as the high MPG 5-passenger (CUV, MPV?) companion to the 7-passenger Zafira. This will play into Saturn's focus on being an efficient "european" brand and give Saturn a mid-size entrant, and remember as much as we make a fuss about how small cars are popular in Europe, so are Wagons and they make an attractive alternative to someone who only needs a little more utility than a sedan offers.

The rest of the Saturn line will consist of the "Triplets", Matiz, Corsa (with a new name - "Saturn Corsa" sounds terrible), Astra (3D, 5D, Estate), Meriva and Montana Pickup (at least Saturn Montana sounds OK and can play on the "Hannah Montana" craze).

Why give Saturn the "Triplets" and Corsa?

Because they will be offered at select Chevrolet dealers as the "new" GEO, eliminating the need for GM to "re" create a brand, I like the GEO idea as it has been presented recently but lets face the fact GM really can't afford it.

Existing Saturn dealers will remain and GM will need to watch oversaturation, but it is manageable.

Doing this also reduces the number of models GM has to create and the topic we should be addressing as the real cost of brands is not the number of brands, but the number of models if all brands have full lines - restrict the total number of models and distribute them strategically and GM will find success.

Oh, and by 2013 GM will be picking up momentum at which time the 4-Door Sedan version of the Aura can return.
 

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A sign that Saturn is being considered for the brand GM will cut?
 

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The rest of the Saturn line will consist of the "Triplets", Matiz, Corsa (with a new name - "Saturn Corsa" sounds terrible), Astra, Meriva and Montana Pickup (at least Saturn Montana sounds OK and can play on the "Hannah Montana" craze).
I don't know about the Montana, I'd say give that to Chevy and a beefed-up, tougher looking version to GMC to offset their full size trucks' low fuel economies. I think more people would buy it too if it were badged as a Chevy and GMC.
And if the reason behind the Montana name is from Hannah Montana, I will never buy one for as long as I'll ever live.
 

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A sign that Saturn is being considered for the brand GM will cut?
I doubt it at this point (from what I'm hearing). GMI will have a follow up on the brand-cut story...we have heard of recent developments since that story broke. Look for that Monday-ish.
 

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Is this a simple hold to stop a product or is this a hold on developing new product for Saturn, which is what happened to Olds before it got axed.
 

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Power plant change? Turbo DI new gen 1.4L I4 as base Engine for America? Or perhaps the Euro SWB around 107.5IN was thought to be too short to replace todays long domestic Aura's 112IN.
 

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I doubt it at this point (from what I'm hearing). GMI will have a follow up on the brand-cut story...we have heard of recent developments since that story broke. Look for that Monday-ish.
Isn't this also where they are going to build the next LaCrosse? Hopefully, they are not S**t-canning the tooling for that right now.
....hmmmm
 

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I don't know about the Montana, I'd say give that to Chevy and a beefed-up, tougher looking version to GMC to offset their full size trucks' low fuel economies. I think more people would buy it too if it were badged as a Chevy and GMC.
And if the reason behind the Montana name is from Hannah Montana, I will never buy one for as long as I'll ever live.

The reason I picked Saturn is that the Montana would be a "different" kind of truck and one with high MPG, both key themes Saturn is trying to build on.

I agree the Hannah thing is a bit corny but..

Have a little fun with the name, think of how many kids will bug their parents into taking them to a dealer so they can sit in one (kids need the direct connection to a product, gives the parents a reason to be there and an "escape" reason "kids kept bugging me to bring them in, I'm not really looking" so they are more likely to keep the kids happy) - once there GM has at least the full line of Saturn products to offer if the Montana is not what buyers want.

Remember the most important thing is to get buyers into GM dealers, not just shopping on the internet.
 

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I heard that GM is banking that the Senate will pass the bill to cut down on oil speculation, so they are currently testing an Aura Redline with...get this...and LS9!!















kidding. I heard things, and if its true, its something that should be done long ago.
 

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Should have been done long ago? Dish! I promise I wont tell!
Don't put anyone in a bad way. Remember the Oshawa guy who got canned for pictures of that mysterious Concept Camaro no one had seen before?
 
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