• Oct 6, 2006
Ward's Auto is reporting that General Motors has begun a plan to completely integrate Saturn and its European Opel brand by 2014. By that time, nearly every car in the lineup of each brand will be "interchangeable," according to Carl-Peter Forster, president of GM Europe. Forster likens what will become of Saturn to Vauxhall, the retail channel for Opel in the United Kingdom.

The Saturn Aura already rides on the same Epsilon platform as the Opel Vectra, but both cars were developed separately, feature different content and are built in different locations. The next Vectra, however, will be the basis for the second-generation Aura sold in the U.S. Both the Opel Antara SUV and the Astra compact will also be coming to the States soon as the next VUE and ION replacement, respectively. The smallest Opel, the newly redesigned Corsa (shown above), could also come over as a Saturn if GM believes it needs another entry-level option alongside the Chevy Aveo in the U.S.

The only thing Saturn has to offer Opel is the Sky roadster. The Sky will be sold in Europe as the Opel GT early next year. Aside from that, Opel's European customers probably aren't interested in the upcoming 7-passenger Saturn Outlook, as the CUV is much too large for their tastes.

[Source: Ward's Auto]


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  • 22 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm all for it. I've never heard, does this mean no more Saturn plastic body panels? After riding with a friend in his Saturn during a parking lot fender bender, then having my own door dented by a parking lot hit-and-run, I kinda like the idea. Will that be kept or lost?
      • 8 Years Ago
      I wouldn't call this badge engineering because Opel and Saturn are sold in different geographical areas. You won't see Opels and Saturns parked near one another in the U.S. the way you might see a Ford and a badge-engineered Mercury together.

      Branding a single, really good line of cars 2 ways for 2 distict areas isn't badge engineering--it's good strategy for GM.

      Maybe it'll also be good for the rest of us by giving us more good cars from which to choose in the U.S.

      It might also give GM some flexibility by having a line of cars that can be built both in the U.S. and in Europe.

      If the euro currency is expensive enough (it's high now) maybe GM could export Opels to Europe at some future time. You never know........
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM should take Vauxhall,Opel, and Saturn and consolidate the three different divisions. they should all sell the same product under the same brand name in different markets. Opel should become the surviving moniker/brand and the cost of the different brands is dramatically slashed.

      This same principle should be applied to Chevrolet and GMC, they both sell the same product lines to similar core demographics but have different brands and dealership networks. Chevrolet and GMC should merge with Chevrolet being the surviving franchise.

      Hummer and SAAB should be grouped together and sold to am emerging automaker looking for a foothold in several markets. With a little investment both Hummer and SAAB can become showpeice brands.

      I personally would save Pontiac as its lineup does not overlap and caters to a sportier segment than any of GM'S other brands. I would keep Pontiac at least for the midterm and consider taking the brand international if GM's fortunes improve, if the company still didnt reach profitability the brand most likely would have to be axed.

      The above suggestions would cost way less than discontinuing a brand, that would involve dealer lawsuits and hefty costs of anywhere to $2-$3 billion as seen when oldsmobile was discontinued in the late 90's.

      Selling SAAB/Hummer

      Consolidating Saturn/Vauxhall/ Opel into just the Opel Brand

      Merging Chevrolet/GMC into Chevrolet

      7 brands will be whittled down to two brands. clearer marketing and definition can be discovered and synergies will arise. the company will be on a solid footing with a more manageable company, poised for future growth. If this plan is not followed and GM decides to close brands and severely mismanage their divestment we might not see the company survive another three years.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Shown above is new sub-compact Opel Corsa, not an Astra.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think Ford to do the same thing due to the failure of the Merkur experiment of the late 80's.
      • 8 Years Ago
      2 thoughts:

      1. You do all realize that Opel is nothing more than GM Europe. The same status as they hold in N. America, that being bottom feeder.

      and

      2. 2014, now these guys really are optimists if they think they'll still be in business at that date.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Does this mean that Euro buyers now start getting inferior products so they are more in tune with a broader taste to accomodate U.S. customers? At least no-one here really likes Opels/Vauxhalls apart from fleet managers because they're cheap.

      It just seems that when cars from Europe are developed to suit the American market they suffer for it in the minds of Europeans. Take for example the fat ass of the Jaguar XK8 or the stupid column gearshift on the BMW 7 series, don't get me started on the obsession with cup-holders! It seems that when Americans like European cars, they probably like them for being what they are, European. When they get cannibalised in development they end up losing there focus, and its the European market that feels it. As long as its only the likes of Opel and Ford then I guess thats OK, we don't really like them that much here in Europe, they're sales have been dropping for years now.
      Greg A.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "The smallest Opel, the newly redesigned Corsa (shown above), could also come over as a Saturn if GM believes it needs another entry-level option alongside the Chevy Aveo in the U.S."

      Hello? "[C]ould" come over? Just four days ago, there was an Autoblog item that reported that the next-gen Corsa (not the one that just came out) WILL come over to the U.S.:
      http://www.autoblog.com/2006/10/02/opel-corsa-to-be-sold-on-u-s-soil-in-five-years/

      Who wrote that Autoblog item? John Neff, the same person who wrote this one. Way to go, John!
      • 7 Years Ago
      #25 Opel is far from a bottom feeder in Europe! It is actually a well liked car brand with nice designs and German quality. GM might own Opel, but it's no American brand in European minds. The engineers in Germany do a fine job, and people do buy Opel! The British might not like their Vauxhall - but they really are in a another boat.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "I'm all for it. I've never heard, does this mean no more Saturn plastic body panels?"

      They were canned a bit ago. That is why the Spring Hill factory is being retooled, it did all the plastic cars. After the Ion is gone early next year (IIRC) and the VUE this time next year (still around just totally new without plastic panels), there are no more plastic panels.


      "I kinda like the idea."

      Get with the times, looks are more important than like functionality and stuff. I.E. gaps were like a couple milimeters too much for discriminating tastes (i.e. overly debted Americans). Not only the ding thing was an advantage but vehicles in areas prone to rust look much better after years if they have plastic panels too. But dude, 2 mm is 2 mm. I mean come on.

      • 8 Years Ago
      If they're contented like Opels, they'll have to be priced much like VWs. Not necessarily a bad thing. I just wouldn't expect the Corsa to be priced like the Aveo, so I'm not seeing why selling the Aveo precludes selling the Corsa.
      • 8 Years Ago
      how is the Sky going to jive w/ the Opel Speedster (a rebadged Lotus Elise)?

      http://www.speedster.opel.com/
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