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Saturn may drop L-Series
Despite high hopes, slow sales have GM ready to end production earlier than planned

By Ed Garsten / The Detroit News

DETROIT — General Motors Corp. is likely to stop production of the failed Saturn L-300 midsize passenger car ahead of schedule because of disappointing sales and bulging inventories, according to sources familiar with the situation.

The L-Series was launched in 1999 with great expectations and a mission to compete with industry-leaders Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. Instead, it has become a key reason that Saturn has struggled in recent years.

Even a redesign for the 2003 model year and beefed up advertising failed to ignite consumer interest.

Last year, L-Series sales dropped 20 percent from 2002, according to Autodata Corp. Last month, sales plummeted 78 percent from a year earlier.

By the end of January, dealer lots were jammed with a 151-day supply of the L-300 sedan, according to Farmington Hills-based CSM Worldwide, an automotive forecasting firm.

“Clearly, the vehicle has missed its market by a long shot,” CSM Worldwide analyst Mike Jackson said.

Saturn has said it planned to end production of the L-Series next year, replacing it in 2006 with a new midsize car based on the same underpinnings as the Chevrolet Malibu and Malibu Maxx, Pontiac G6 and Saab 9-3 and Opel Vectra.

But people familiar with the matter said with sales slowing, GM likely will pull the plug on L-Series production this year.

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Not soon enough... and might I add one of the ugliest front ends evar! It makes sense to build them on the new epsilon platform. They could also build them at either Fairfax or Orion - though I would guess Orion (which will start the G6 production this summer) since Fairfax seems to be really busy with Malibu and Maxx production.
 

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I hate to see the L go, I was a huge fan of the car. After driving a rental from Michigan to Florida I was ready to buy one, but having two new vehicals when your a single 21 yr old doesnt make much sense. Yes the redesign made the headlights a little too big, but the car still looked good especially in black. For the life of me I dont know why this car never caught on.
 

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Originally posted by chicubs@Feb 29 2004, 12:17 PM
Just bring the Vectra over instead and be done with it.
Indeed. Why the GM design guys need to make an Opel look Saturn-ugly is beyond me.

If they want it to look ugly, just use those funky wheels from the ION... :rolleyes: :p

As for the L-series --- I kinda like the looks of it. Too bad the rest of the market didn't.
 

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Another phony "doom and gloom" story about GM.....I mean really....

1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004...


Wow...what a flop....only 6 model years on the market..and GM is going to end production and replace it with a new model....

Too bad the car could not hang around as long as all these other winners like the

Blackwood
Maurauder
Del Sol
T100
Thunderbird......I think that the Thunderbird will have come and gone before L series production ends....

Did'nt we already know that the Wilmington plant was going to be the home of the new Kappa?
 

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Originally posted by MCGARRETT@Feb 29 2004, 09:41 PM


Too bad the car could not hang around as long as all these other winners like the

Blackwood
Maurauder
Del Sol
T100
Thunderbird......I think that the Thunderbird will have come and gone before L series production ends....
:laughbounce: :laughbounce: :laughbounce: :laughbounce: :laughbounce:
 

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They really do need to can this car. It's not too bad on the inside except those gawd-awful power window switches on the center console.....and the exterior has panel gaps that are huge!
The sooner Saturn gets rid of those panels, the better.
I sure wish we could trade Saturn for Oldsmobile....but alas, the black and gold rocket 350 is dead.

Killer
 

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Saturn needs to be marketed towards a younger audience in ages of 18-27, simple as that. It's all about brand indentity and Saturn currenty doesn't have one.
 

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So is it confirmed that Wilmington will be building the Kappa cars? Will they be building all of them? If so, then good. While the L series was a huge yawner, it WAS put together rather well IMO. That bodes well for the Kappa platform's quality. I just hope there will enough production so that the plant won't have to lay off anyone.

Bring on the Curve. That car has grown on me.
 

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Opel realy has a nice line of cars. Why has it taken this long to come up with this idea? If the GTO could be readied for US use in 18 months, the same should be done with Opel's line. GM could use a European import flavor division. The Kappa convertible is OK, but there's a limited need for small convertables.
 

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Originally posted by Roadster44@Mar 1 2004, 12:57 PM
Saturn needs to be marketed towards a younger audience in ages of 18-27, simple as that. It's all about brand indentity and Saturn currenty doesn't have one.
That's what the Redline's are for...
 

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Originally posted by PontiacJ8+Mar 2 2004, 10:24 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (PontiacJ8 @ Mar 2 2004, 10:24 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-Roadster44@Mar 1 2004, 12:57 PM
Saturn needs to be marketed towards a younger audience in ages of 18-27, simple as that. It's all about brand indentity and Saturn currenty doesn't have one.
That's what the Redline's are for... [/b][/quote]
Well the Saturn Relay will fix that! ;)
 

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Originally posted by killerrd2@Mar 1 2004, 02:08 AM
They really do need to can this car. It's not too bad on the inside except those gawd-awful power window switches on the center console.....and the exterior has panel gaps that are huge!
The sooner Saturn gets rid of those panels, the better.
I'll never understand how people would rather put up with door dings and rust on metal panels rather than have larger gaps between plastic exterior panels.

Metal bodied cars may look nicer in the showroom than Saturns with plastic panels, but check both of them out 5 years down the line. The plastic will look very much like it did on day one, but a car with metal panels is going to have dings, and a few years after that, rust.

I guess Saturn's got to do what they can to bring in new customers, but I will be sorry to see the plastic panels go.
 

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i think generally it's more than 5 years before a steel door'd car looks as rough as you describe. depends, i guess, but you see a fair share of saturns with gouges and scratches into the plastic panels. i like the idea of plastic bodied cars (go fiero!), but i don't think it's got the massive advantage over steel that saturn tried to convey. it's easier to fix a dent in a steel door than repair a rip in a plastic door.
 

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It was kind of a shock to hear we would be out on the street for almost a year. They kept talking about keeping the people working . I thought that we would have alot of time off , work a couple weeks and be off a couple.and start pilot jobs early and by Jan start building production ready cars with a slow startup... Boy was I wrong. That is what I get for trying to guess what they are going to do.
 

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Once the L series is dropped. Does GM have any car that's just a station wagon?
Sad how their lacking big time in that department. All these divisions and not a one sport wagon. Not even a cheap small wagon like the L.
 

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Good that its dropped. Seriously when did they become so arrogant thinking that if they build a cheapo plastic sedan with some luxury features that it would compete with Camry, Altima and Accord. lol. If GM truly wants to be a leader in CD cars then they have to come out with a family sedan which is 5 times better from competition and stands out. Kind of like the Altima which for 2005 looks more aggressive and does not blend it. Can you honestly say that about the Saturn L or even Chevy Malibu with its hideously unproportional front end.
 

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I don’t think the front end of the Malibu is all that bad. The light clusters look professional for once. It was a lot better than what I was expecting but that is just my personal opinion so feel free to rant. I wouldnt go so far as to say that the Malibu is as bad as the L, it will fair better and style wise is a definite improvement over the last Malibu.
 
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