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WHAT CAR STARTED THE DEATH OF SATURN?


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#61

PurdueGuy

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 08:27 AM

QUOTE (SAmadei @ Mar 11 2009, 01:38 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Agreed. Coke Classic was unbeatable when it came back, and New Coke was forgotten overnight.

If GM wasn't so close to death, I would suggest the resurrection of Olds in the Saturn footprint. But then again, if GM wasn't so close to death, they would dump 3 billion into Saturn and give all the VPs million dollar bonuses.


Sorry, that would be a pretty stupid waste of money. Shell out billions to kill a brand just to resurrect one? I don't know the sales #s, but if someone is correct that Saturn sells more cars per dealer than any other brand (I assume GM brand), can you honestly expect a resurrected Olds to do better for more than a short burst of initial boosted interest?

I would be possibly in favor of GM bringing back the Olds name in one or two special cars, sold through an existing sales channel so that they don't have the baggage that is connected to a full-fledged brand/division. If they sell well and another model is justified, make it. If not, don't. Cut and add products as the market dictates, without so much blowback from dealers because they want "volume models". But, I've said that before, and would like to see that happen with all the brands except Chevy and Cadillac. Don't kill the brands, make them flexible!
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#62

smk4565

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 08:29 AM

QUOTE (PurdueGuy @ Mar 11 2009, 12:59 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Not really disagreeing with any particular point of your post, but just thought I would note... looking at Scion's lousy sales numbers these days, I don't think it's appropriate to say that any division "should be more like Scion." ;)

Scion's cars are ugly with cheap interiors. To make car like Scion is a bad idea, but I think Saturn should have gone after the demographic Scion goes for. Had they stayed what they were with value pricing like Hyundai/Kia they would have been in a good position when the economy tanked.
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#63

Z-06

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 09:11 AM

QUOTE (smk4565 @ Mar 11 2009, 09:29 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Scion's cars are ugly with cheap interiors. To make car like Scion is a bad idea, but I think Saturn should have gone after the demographic Scion goes for. Had they stayed what they were with value pricing like Hyundai/Kia they would have been in a good position when the economy tanked.


Which means theoretically targeting 16 year olds and actually getting 61 year olds into the showroom?

Scion was SHRINKING even in booming economy.
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#64

PurdueGuy

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 09:12 AM

QUOTE (smk4565 @ Mar 11 2009, 10:29 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Scion's cars are ugly with cheap interiors. To make car like Scion is a bad idea, but I think Saturn should have gone after the demographic Scion goes for. Had they stayed what they were with value pricing like Hyundai/Kia they would have been in a good position when the economy tanked.


I agree with that, somewhat. Scion went for/goes for youth buyers, but has ended up with a bunch of old farts that want to look cool. That's probably fine, except that it kinda killed the youth appeal. But yes, Saturn should have stuck with value pricing. Trying to move them upmarket just alienated their customers very badly, and GM doesn't have time for Saturn to let the customers get used to their new identity or find new customers.
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#65

smk4565

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 09:47 AM

Scion has crappy cars. I agree that Scion isn't getting the demographic that they target. The Ion could have started Saturn's demise also, it wasn't a very good product. Saturn lacked something like a Mazda 5, Kia Rondo, or Honda Fit, that was cheap, but had some utility and versatility that younger buyers would want. Ion, Relay, Aura, Outlook were too much like Chevys, although Saturn has been a money loser, they would probably be closing regardless of what they did.
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#66

fightingbee

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 07:10 PM

IMO about '99 was the first hint of decline at Saturn. The S needed a thorough update yesterday at the time as the '96-'97 updates were nice but too weak to keep them up to the level of the Japanese in reviews. GM/Saturn however was actually de-contenting the S in those years of little things like the 4 wheel disc option and the "performance" mode for the auto trannies, not big deals but noticed by repeat buyers.

The L was on the horizon about that time as well, and the fact that it would only be partially plastic skinned and equipped with an imported and timing belt equipped V-6 gave a mixed message to S owners who were heavily sold on how superior the plastic panels and timing chain equipped engines were supposed to be. Early problems with the L that led to the recall of many examples of the then unproven 2.2 Ecotec and ongoing electrical issues hurt as well. Remember, this was only the 2nd new model from a brand that liked to brag about previously buying back a batch of early S cars just becuase of bad antifreeze.

This was the start of their slide, the VTi, the Relay, and then trying to go "upscale" while not improving at the core business (S, ION) finished them off.

Edited by fightingbee, 11 March 2009 - 07:21 PM.

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#67

vt_hokie

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 07:27 PM

I agree with many of the comments here. I'd have to say that while the L Series was largely a failure, the ION really killed Saturn. The VUE, however, remained popular while it was built in Spring Hill and had polymer panels.

My SL2 was the first GM car I bought, and it'll be the last. I hope some other automaker offers dent resistant plastic/composite panels again someday, though.
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#68

RjION

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 07:38 PM

No car killed SATURN not evan the Relay or Astra.......... GM DID because they didn't know what to do with SATURN after the first 6 years.

Edited by RjION, 21 January 2010 - 07:39 PM.

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#69

daves87rs

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 08:19 PM

<!--quoteo(post=476597:date=Mar 5 2009, 04:04 AM:name=Satty)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Satty @ Mar 5 2009, 04:04 AM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=476597"><{POST_SNAPBACK}></a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->The 2nd generation S-cars. When all they did was a facelift instead of keeping the cars ahead of the competition, they sealed Saturn's fate. Second place goes to the Relay, first Saturn without polymer panels.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

I agree with the 2nd generation Saturn S-Series. I was in the market for a new car at the time and decided to give the then newly introduced 2nd gen Saturn SL a test drive. It seemed very crude and uncompetitive compared to some of the car's competitors that I test drove the very same day. I ended up buying a competitor's product instead. GM spent billions launching this brand to counter the Asian imports, but they didn't do much after that to ensure that the brand stayed current and competitive. It was a very expensive yet ultimately halfhearted attempt by GM to regain lost market share and customers. I still think GM would have been better off by simply making drastic improvements within their existing divisional structure; they should have tried "thinking outside" of their existing box instead of creating a troublesome new box that they weren't able to maintain or sustain. Creating a new division with its own accompanying dedicated factory and dealership body isn't required to engineer/design/build class leading products and improve/overhaul customer service.



Agreed.
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#70

daves87rs

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 08:21 PM

No car killed SATURN not evan the Relay or Astra.......... GM DID because they didn't know what to do with SATURN after the first 6 years.



You know, I gotta agree with this. The brand never really saw any changes for a decade....
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#71

RjION

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 08:33 AM

The life and death of any GM brand is the success or failer of GM.
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#72

Chicagoland

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 11:48 AM

The S series was expected to sell without changes and was 'good enough' for GM's 1990's managers. Same with the Cavalier.
The thought process was that small car buyers "don't care about quality and are cheap buyers". But if they don't like the car after owning it, they are gone for life from GM.
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#73

daves87rs

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 10:19 PM

The S series was expected to sell without changes and was 'good enough' for GM's 1990's managers. Same with the Cavalier.
The thought process was that small car buyers "don't care about quality and are cheap buyers". But if they don't like the car after owning it, they are gone for life from GM.



Pretty much.


Granted, besides being cheap looking, were great cars....
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#74

Sixty8panther

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 10:45 PM

Trick question: Saturn was never really alive until the Sky.
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#75

PurdueGuy

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Posted 13 May 2010 - 10:25 AM

Trick question: Saturn was never really alive until the Sky.


Yeah, because the brand wasn't successful when it was selling a third of a million cars a year. :P Having an enthusiast car is not the same as success as a whole.
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#76

Drew Dowdell

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Posted 13 May 2010 - 10:42 AM

Saturn killed Saturn.

By not having the next MCE on the drawing board the day the first SC rolled off the line they sealed their own fate. If you're going to be the "new and fresh" brand, you've gotta stay "new and fresh" and that means MCEs at least every 3 to 4 years.

Just look at what rather modest, but more frequent, refreshes are doing for the Ford lineup.
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#77

PurdueGuy

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Posted 13 May 2010 - 10:59 AM

Saturn killed Saturn.

By not having the next MCE on the drawing board the day the first SC rolled off the line they sealed their own fate. If you're going to be the "new and fresh" brand, you've gotta stay "new and fresh" and that means MCEs at least every 3 to 4 years.

Just look at what rather modest, but more frequent, refreshes are doing for the Ford lineup.


Saturn engineering had many plans that never came to fruition, because they didn't have the money, because GM upper management cut them off right out of the gate. You can't stay "new and fresh" without some operating capital.
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#78

RjION

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 09:35 AM

No car killed Olds, Pontiac, or Saturn .............. Gm dropped the ball and nothing more.

Edited by RjION, 18 May 2010 - 09:35 AM.

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#79

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 10:54 PM

Well, my vote would be for the facelifted S-cars, but I really think that the whole division was a waste.
Money placed in launching and producing the brand and its products could have been put towards GM's important work, but hey, this is sooo a dead horse sort of post. :-)

Notable Quotable: No car killed Olds, Pontiac, or Saturn .............. Gm dropped the ball and nothing more.

Indeed.

Edited by MyerShift, 01 June 2010 - 10:54 PM.

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