• Dec 15, 2005

The Saturn Ion is due for an overhaul. Created as GM's answer to the import compact, its build and quality problems have plagued it, and its design hasn't delivered the import-lovers. In 2008, scheduled to hit dealerships perhaps in 2009, GM wants to change all of that with the new Ion — or Evoke, as GM says might be the vehicle's new name. GM will phase the current Ion (pictured) out at the end of 2006, leaving a good chunk of time for the brand to go without a compact sedan.
Based on the Chevy Cobalt, GM says that its new styling direction will take cues from the Opel Vectra to better attract the elusive import crowd. Moving the car's production away from Spring Hill means that the vehicle will probably replace its plastic panels with steel sheetmetal, to boot.



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  • 17 Comments
      • 9 Years Ago
      But Neal, you take the pains to think it all out because you're a GM supporter. Consumers, however, don't carefully consider GM brands in relation to each other, they don't think of moving from "GM Select" to GM's "Bookend." They simply don't have to. There are too many choices available to them, too many cars that they want which, unfortunately for GM, aren't found in a GM dealership. "For instance, all Saturns have the chromework of the Opels with large grills, and in the back have clear taillamps that light up with red LEDs. Think of the Saturn Sky with some agressive LED lights on the back, and all of the Saturn cars having them. It would instantly set them apart....and not cost GM very much at all." So a different grille and tailight arrangement sets a car apart? I think we've seen more than enough of these tricks from GM already. GM has too many brands, too many products, and too little differentiation among them. That you wrote a lengthy explanation so we can understand it all only proves the point. I want GM to succeed. But we don't do them any favors by apologizing for its mistakes.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Here's an image of the 2008 Evoke next to the Chevy Cobalt, for comparison: http://doogs.typepad.com/2008saturn.jpg
      • 9 Years Ago
      >>Plagued by "build and quality" problems. >That is a very strong statement, and >exaggerated to the point of irresponsibility. Hey, samuel, remember the Ion CVT? If you don't, it's because poor quality it got canned a year after launch. BTW, JD Power rates Ion average to below average, CR ranks its reliability below average.
      • 9 Years Ago
      "Plagued by "build and quality" problems" => have to agree with Samuel on this one. You're off base and out at 2nd. I think a 5-star reliability for 96, 97, 01, 02, 03, 04 are pretty darn good! Hey, that equals the Honda Civic, guys. And the 4 star years, 98, 99, 00 were from one cause, "Occasional engine problems with the 1.9L single OHC head gasket", still not a reason to dismiss an otherwise entirely reliable, strong performing economy vehicle. I know you guys want a reaction out of your japanese-loyal readers, but don't you guys get tired falsely bashing GM? Saturn owners love these cars, it rivals the VW Jetta loyalists and there's got to be a reason. Oh, it's that great handling suspension, clean interior, smart lines, no dent/rust polymer exterior, and simple pricing that makes it a winner with a huge following.
      • 9 Years Ago
      In response to post #8: What an obnoxious post/comment. Perhaps Erin should just get pregnant, take off her shoes, and hurry back into the kitchen? Good grief.
      • 9 Years Ago
      All Ions that I have seen were plagued by horrible quality problems. I've seen gaps in interior panels so big I could get my fingers into and I remember the photo in Consumer Reports of a similar problem with a car they tested. You know things are bad when the brand new Ion was the lowest rated car in its class by Consumer Reports. Usually car companies try to improve cars with the introduction of each new model. GM missed the mark so far with Ion it isn't even funny. And basing the next Ion on the Cobalt isn't going to help because CR rated that just above the Ion.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Saturn made sense when Chevy had a horrible reputaion for quality problems back in the late 1980s. The Saturn Corp. was structured as a separate company apart from GM with separate, less punishing union contracts. Also, Saturn was supposed to distance itself from GM's bloated bureaucracy. The original Saturn SL was about the same size and price of a Chevy Cavalier, so was always redundant. But the Saturn was a better car and that's all that mattered. I don't think Saturn ever made a profit during its entire existence of about 15 years now. With Chevy having regained much of its reputation as a good car, the Saturn brand makes no sense. GM needs FEWER brands, and FEWER cars within each brand so that each car is different enough from the others to matter to customers. The dent-resistant doors/side panels and no-haggle pricing are good reasons to consider a Saturn. Making an all-steel Saturn will kill most of its appeal. As for no-haggle pricing, people who use the internet can get pretty good deals while cutting through the car salesman crap anyway. GM really doesn't need Saturn which has now replaced Oldsmobile as the brand GM doesn't know what to do with.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Repeat after me...GM is the largest car company in the world. They supposedly have access to the best of everything--materials, designers and engineers. How could they even consider releasing a car like the Ion?? I don't get it. And isn't it a total embarassment to offer a smooth and refined Honda V6 in the VUE??
      • 9 Years Ago
      If I remember correctly (and I don't speak unless I do....), when the Ion was first released 3 years ago it was savaged by all the auto mags/sites that have proven over time to provide the most relistic reviews (Car&Driver, Edmunds, James Healey), not just 'gloss' pieces (Motor Trend, sometimes Automobile). C&D especially rebuked it, brutally. I almost felt sorry for GM until I remembered all the half-baked crap they've released on the American public over the years, and despite the 25 years they've had to find their game, still crap out cars like the Ion and Cobalt. Sorry, but both cars scream "discount" just during a test drive. In 1981 I bought my first Japanese car because what the domestics offered at that time at my price point was abysmal. I remember being irritated that I was paying a price premium because of the 'import quotas' being forced on Toyota and Honda (if I'm not mistaken...1.5 million max a year??) because the domestics needed breathing room to catch up. They never have. This is sad, because they have some of the most dedicated employees in the business. #15 is bragging on his Saturn hitting 130k. You gotta be kidding. I don't even notice until my Japanese brand vehicles hit 200k - and I've had 4 of them, some even made in America (not Canada, not Mexico). Saturn's reason to live (a different kind of company) has passed them by - and just as they're getting their styling chi together - the Sky and Aura are downright beautiful. Pity. If they can't kill brands, then GM needs to downsize and combine all of them except Chevy. 2 or 3 models each, keep the same brands/names/ You can either go to Chevy, or your friendly Buick/Caddy/Pontiac/Saturn/GMC dealer. The only domestic I would consider right now is the Ford Freestyle. Hopefully, in 4 years when I'm ready to retire my Isuzu at 250k I'll feel the same way.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Plagued by "build and quality" problems. That is a very strong statement, and exaggerated to the point of irresponsibility. Once again Erin, get your facts straight before you post.
      • 9 Years Ago
      guess Caddy won't be using the Evoq nameplate.....
      • 9 Years Ago
      #8 - you hit the nail on the head. What is the point of Saturn, now that its cars don't sell, and GM plans to bring autos from other divisions into the brand? Once upon a time, Saturn pledged to build all of its cars at Spring Hill, and to remain dedicated to its employees. Saturn still has great customer service, but that ain't enough . . . you need cars, too.
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