• Feb 22, 2008

It is tough to keep up a winning streak, as Saturn may soon realize. After boasting a 12.6-percent increase in retail sales, and average transaction prices up by $7,000 compared to the previous year, GM expects their Saturn division to continue their growth for the next five years.

It most likely won't be that easy. Last year, Saturn presented an entirely new model line responsible for the fresh faces pouring into showrooms. This year, things are a bit different. The Saturn Outlook, the slowest selling of GM's three Lambda CUVs, heads into its second year having to compete with now a fourth Lamda-platform crossover, the Chevrolet Traverse. The Saturn Aura, perennially living in the shadow of the Chevy Malibu, carries over with just minor changes for 2008. Even the all-new Saturn Astra, fresh from Europe where it is sold as an Opel, may fight for domestic sales if American buyers don't warm to its Euro-designed interior.

There is hope. As Saturn is GM's "green" outlet, there are a couple of innovative vehicles on the horizon. We can expect to see a Two Mode hybrid Vue by the end of this year which should be followed by a plug-in Vue by 2010.

[Source: Automotive News]



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  • 20 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      It seems to never surface that Saturn sells the (respectable but not huge) amount of cars it does through a much smaller dealer network. Chevrolet, even Honda and Toyota have how many dealers to push the higher amounts???!!! Saturn does very well considering that it only has 400 dealers.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Get rid of the failed experiment named Saturn. Has it ever made a dime? To keep the dealers happy, rename it Oldsmobile, and give it the RWD products GM's been debating for years (while market share continues to free-fall and now even HYUNDAI introduces mainstream RWD cars.) Keep the best Euro platforms too.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Oldsmobile is historically the polar opposite of Euro. They're luxury muscle cars. If Olds ever were to come back they'd need to be RWD, reasonably large and V8 powered. But that won't happen so leave it dead. Don't disgrace the name anymore than the 90s FWD cars already did.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think much of Saturn's success, much like Scion, is the fact that buying a new car can be very scary. All the wheeling and dealing can be daunting. Going in and buying what everyone else paid for the vehicle is "comforting" for many. I think as long as the Saturn group does not overprice too aggressively the vehicles, then they'll be healthy and strong.
      • 6 Years Ago
      They need to do a mid-model update on the Aura. The Aura needs a better interior and some slight changes to the exterior. The Malibu team learned from the Aura's mistakes. I hope the Astra sells so GM doesn't turn away from importing their interesting Euro vehicles.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't know...I loved my 92 Cutlass Coupe. It was a great car.

      Vowing never to buy another American car? Assuming you live in the US, isn't that rather closed minded?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I love how many people are saying "dump this" "dump that". You fail to realize that a great many of the buyers that would have bought one of those dumped brands then leave for another company - not GM. The answer isn't that easy
      • 6 Years Ago
      14 years and counting, no profit yet. Kill it, spend the money on the established divisions.
        • 6 Years Ago
        They have the most interesting (and non-traditional GM) line up in GM, yet GM doesn't advertise them. That's mismanagement.
      • 6 Years Ago
      To those talking about Oldsmobile (a sad loss), it died becaus it lost its way. Oldsmobile became wounded in 1985 when the fullsize RWD Delta88 was lost, fatally wounded in 1988 when the midsize (fullsize by today's standards) RWD Cutlass was lost and dead in 1992 when the super-size Custom Cruiser was lost. Oldsmobile was always a blend of muscle and luxury. Pontiac meets Buick. None of Oldsmobile's vehicles into the 90s served this mission. The 88 was a reskinned LeSabre and the 98 a Park Ave. If they had kept Delta88 on the b-body we'd all be remembering the 1996 Detla88 442, not the Impala SS. Leave Oldsmobile in the ground, let it rest in peace. Let it not enter this sad soulless world of CAFE and lousy 4bangers. At least they were the first to venture a luxury branded SUV (Bravada). You can blame them for Escalade.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So is Saturn the Vauxhall of America? To me, it was a great idea changing the whole brand from plastic paneled cars(my first new car purchase was a '98 SL) to fun Euro cars. I woudln't mind a Sky, even though vowing never to buy American again.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Saturn's lineup is all rebadged American cars with Opel styling cues, the only exceptions are the the Astra and the VUE.

      The Astra is an actual Opel exported from straight from Europe with a badge change. The new VUE is a rebadged Daewoo. The Astra and VUE are the only vehicles that are truly unique to Saturn in the North American market. Of everything new Saturn sells the VUE seems to be doing the best.

      Modern diesels are a nice dream but Opel's diesels do not meet US emissions requirements. They also add substantial cost to the MSRP of a car. The other big problem with Saturn is that typical Saturn customers are coming in to find a cheap and cheerful car like the $13k ION. When they arrive they are faced with an impractical roadster, $18k Astras, $23k-$25k Auras, $27k VUEs, and $27k-$40k Outlooks.

      GM has a big mess on their hands, all other brands included too.
        • 6 Years Ago
        1) Watch how GM will fail with Astra because they won't properly advertise it. Mark my words. Then they'll come out and say, "ehh it failed because it is a hatchback."

        2) TriShield, VUE is a rebadged Vauxhall/Opel Antara, there is also a cheaper version intended for Eastern Europe badged as a Chevrolet Captiva. Daewoo did a bit of engineering work on it.



        • 6 Years Ago
        I drive a 2007 AURA, my 1st american car after a loooong time. I could not refuse the 0.9% financing and the monthy payment of only $215 a month for a fully equipped Aura XE (after a few promotions and GM incentives). The car is a solid highway cruiser, it has nice features and looks good when washed (although with this winter we are having in my neck of the woods - Montreal - it has not seen a car wash in months!).

        Having said that, I do agree with some that GM should bring over the complete OPEL lineup unchanged and rename it all Saturn. After all all they need to do is print some letterheads and change their signs.

        This is the route GM should have taken (As well as FORD but thats another subject). Their Opel division has great handling cars with excellent built quaility. Fix the emissions problems and bring over the diesels and all their other engines for that matter. DO NOT change the interiors. Have you seen the VECTRA interior??? Light years ahead of my "parts bin" Aura. Why do they keep doing this? Why copy the front and ruin the back? Why change the dash? Do you see BMW, Merc, Volvo etc. change their dash for the different markets? How about their lights? No. They are all the same worldwide.
        Less money spent on this stupidity means more for other departments...like handling..engines..etc.

        GM has the other brands to cater to the American tastes. They should go full force after the Euro market with Opel/Saturn. Let the company reinvent itself. Build a good product and people will come.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I was in a Saturn dealer looking at a new Aura about a year ago. I was in one two nights ago and could not believe the difference. It is really weird seeing a Sky and knowing it is the oldest model they offer. I think Saturn has a winning lineup and all they need to do now is get over the perception that Saturns are small crappy plastic cars. I have driven all of the new Saturn models in the last year and I hope they keep going in the right direction.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Thinking out loud: with the improved lineup, GM should change the brand from Saturn into Opel.

      Personally, I never was a big fan of the Saturn marque (and the craptastic Ion), let alone that the "experiment" back in the '80s has transformed into another brand as far as auto architecture goes.
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