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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Saturn Aura Attracting Foreigners

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The new Saturn Aura is not only chalking up good reviews, it's also attracting all kinds of competitors' cars in trade, according to Jill Lajdziak, the GM marketing executive in charge of the Saturn brand.

"We're getting all kinds of vehicles in trade for the Aura," Lajdziak said. Saturn dealers report they are taking in Honda Accords, Toyota Camrys, crossover vehicles and even BMWs for the Aura.

More than 40 percent of the Auras sold so far have been bought with highest trim level, she said.

The article is here:

http://www.thecarconnection.com/Auto_News/...175.A11564.html

Edited by NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

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Good! Now, hopefully with the next model in another couple years they can take it slightly further upmarket. My problem with the AURA is it really can't be optioned out much higher than a Malibu. Where's the navigation? How about a more premium interior? More interior color/trim choices?

I love the exterior of the thing, but the interior just turns me off.

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Define 'more premium interior.'

226996[/snapback]

One with a better design and either real wood or better-looking plood. Offer navigation. Basically something that feels more substantial. I think the interior ambience of the Outlook is excellent. The Aura just has a design (not materials) that seems cheap to me. And the plastic fake stitching needs to go.

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One with a better design and either real wood or better-looking plood.  Offer navigation.  Basically something that feels more substantial.  I think the interior ambience of the Outlook is excellent.  The Aura just has a design (not materials) that seems cheap to me.  And the plastic fake stitching needs to go.

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Considering how well the current Aura and new Malibu look, I'm sure the EpsII-based Buick LaCrosse and next-gen Aura will both match and exceed expectations. I'm looking forward to seeing the LaCrosse.

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Considering how well the current Aura and new Malibu look, I'm sure the EpsII-based Buick LaCrosse and next-gen Aura will both match and exceed expectations. I'm looking forward to seeing the LaCrosse.

227067[/snapback]

Agreed on both counts.

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Good!  Now, hopefully with the next model in another couple years they can take it slightly further upmarket.  My problem with the AURA is it really can't be optioned out much higher than a Malibu.  Where's the navigation?  How about a more premium interior?  More interior color/trim choices?

I love the exterior of the thing, but the interior just turns me off.

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all valid points. aura's interior just doesn't give off the premium vibes some of its competitors have....accord v6, jetta/passat, and even the fusion/milan all feel better assembled and composed of nicer looking/feeling materials. The Aura interior is well done for a GM vehicle, but that isn't a good thing, and the end result takes away from the upscale look and feel of the car.

On the plus side, it is great that it's selling well in its upper trim! guess i should check the sales to see what it's doing.

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I look at it this way: if it is selling so highly in its upper trim, GM should make more equipment standard (most popular options) on the XE and raise the price accordingly, making XR-exclusive options available on XE. Make the XR with even more standard equipment (and match the price again) and then offer options currently not offered on any trim level (like nav).

To me, that consumers are ordering optioned XRs in that frequency says that GM mis-guaged the market. They priced it too low, and the stripper XE is too much of a stripper. The demographics of this vehicle have more disposable income than they expected as well as basically desire a more premium vehicle than provided.

Let's hope the next Aura moves further upmarket.

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I look at it this way: if it is selling so highly in its upper trim, GM should make more equipment standard (most popular options) on the XE and raise the price accordingly, making XR-exclusive options available on XE.  Make the XR with even more standard equipment (and match the price again) and then offer options currently not offered on any trim level (like nav).

To me, that consumers are ordering optioned XRs in that frequency says that GM mis-guaged the market.  They priced it too low, and the stripper XE is too much of a stripper.  The demographics of this vehicle have more disposable income than they expected as well as basically desire a more premium vehicle than provided.

Let's hope the next Aura moves further upmarket.

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Maybe Saturn is adopting a wait-and-see attitude and they will add to content and MSRP if sales continue to be strong after a year or so... Bua it will also depend on where exactly GM can place the Buick brand. If Cadillac cannot push its cars further upmarket, Buick will have less room to move upmarket, and in turn so will Saturn...

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I look at it this way: if it is selling so highly in its upper trim, GM should make more equipment standard (most popular options) on the XE and raise the price accordingly, making XR-exclusive options available on XE.  Make the XR with even more standard equipment (and match the price again) and then offer options currently not offered on any trim level (like nav).

To me, that consumers are ordering optioned XRs in that frequency says that GM mis-guaged the market.  They priced it too low, and the stripper XE is too much of a stripper.  The demographics of this vehicle have more disposable income than they expected as well as basically desire a more premium vehicle than provided.

Let's hope the next Aura moves further upmarket.

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ya, as far as raising the MSRP and content level, I would hold off on that until we have a year's or so data of demos on it. Actually, I think it's pretty reasonable as the Accord competitor that it is, but an Accord offers more options than the Aura....so I would like to see more options like Nav and such become available.

I think part of what makes the Aura so attractive is a low starting price for an upscale looking and feeling sedan. And the money doesn't reach astronomical levels, yet you can get a relative high level of sophisticated content.....kind of like the imports have been doing with Camry and Accord all these years [gasp]. Buick does need to move upmarket as well though.

Red Line should top the range starting at like $29k, that would be awesome. [Then there'd be absolutely no reason to buy Impala SS, aside from bigger trunk and V8 engine]. Have Nav as an option and maybe rain sensing wipers, park assist, automated cruise control to convince people that Saturn really is an upscale brand to top out at around 36k, and you're good. Couple it with the DI 3.6 rated at 290hp, and you'd have an amazing car for not so much money. Could be viewed as TL competitor, but for that to truly happen Saturn would need a more upscale interior as has been mentioned.

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Yeah, I think it's safe to say that the EP II platform vehicles will be worlds better especially the Aura since it will be exactly the same as the Opel Vectra or whatever they're going to call the new one.

Now, knowing that Opel designers are building this car with Saturn in mind, they'll make the interior more American friendly with simple Radio/HVAC controls and huge cupholders for BIG GULPS. If they did that, they wouldn't have to change it around like GM did with the new VUE. Even though the VUE's interior is nice, it's still not as nice as the Antara's.

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Red Line should top the range starting at like $29k, that would be awesome. [Have Nav as an option and maybe rain sensing wipers, park assist, automated cruise control

227180[/snapback]

+ 6-speed manual option

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As far as the XE goes, Saturn did not misgauge the market. Keep in mind the XE has greater appeal to the traditional Saturn customer, those looking for a decent car at a low price, older folks, and younger people.

For the price, you can hardly claim the XE is a stripper. It offers more features and a simply better powertrain than an Accord or Camry at that price level. I know some of you guys are looking at the Aura and instantly think high-level Accords, Passats, and Acuras but remember the volume is in the midrange or lower 4cyl Camries, Accords, and Altimas. Count how many of the latter you see are 2.5s vs. 3.5s for proof. What Aura brings to the table in XE trim is exactly what low-end Japanese midsizers bring, only in a stylish package not held back by a 4cyl.

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If Cadillac cannot push its cars further upmarket, Buick will have less room to move upmarket, and in turn so will Saturn...

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I don't for one minute believe Saturn's success should be contingent on another division. If Buick ends up getting crowded out because the public wants nicer Saturns, it is the job of the product planners to reposition Buick. It's all about giving the public what they want.

Brand focus is key. GM still bites itself in the ass with all the Sloan hierarchy. Why does Buick have to be under Cadillac? GM has two luxury brands...one soft and the other one sporty with excellent driving dynamics. Is there any reason a consumer wanting a certain level of luxury should be forced into a performance-oriented luxury brand? Cadillac should be focused on luxury and performance. Buick should focus on luxury and comfort.

I for one would have no problem with Buick and Cadillac sharing platforms all the way up the lineups with the main mechanical differences being the suspension tuning. Just give them different interiors and exteriors and price them within a few grand of each other.

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I look at it this way: if it is selling so highly in its upper trim, GM should make more equipment standard (most popular options) on the XE and raise the price accordingly, making XR-exclusive options available on XE.  Make the XR with even more standard equipment (and match the price again) and then offer options currently not offered on any trim level (like nav).

To me, that consumers are ordering optioned XRs in that frequency says that GM mis-guaged the market.  They priced it too low, and the stripper XE is too much of a stripper.  The demographics of this vehicle have more disposable income than they expected as well as basically desire a more premium vehicle than provided.

Let's hope the next Aura moves further upmarket.

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wow, you're off. the XE is hardly a stripper. the XE is a better package than the base camry's. the Loaded XR's gives you all that you need and slots in pricewise under the competition, stealing sales.

more than you expect for less than what you thought. sounds like success to me.

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As far as the XE goes, Saturn did not misgauge the market. Keep in mind the XE has greater appeal to the traditional Saturn customer, those looking for a decent car at a low price, older folks, and younger people.

For the price, you can hardly claim the XE is a stripper. It offers more features and a simply better powertrain than an Accord or Camry at that price level. I know some of you guys are looking at the Aura and instantly think high-level Accords, Passats, and Acuras but remember the volume is in the midrange or lower 4cyl Camries, Accords, and Altimas. Count how many of the latter you see are 2.5s vs. 3.5s for proof. What Aura brings to the table in XE trim is exactly what low-end Japanese midsizers bring, only in a stylish package not held back by a 4cyl.

227188[/snapback]

word.

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Saturn sold over 4,000 Auras in November, an annualized sales rate of approximately 50k.

If 40% of these cars are XR's, that means that we're talking 20k in sales yearly.

Saturn has done this one right, IMO. Great value and a smarter Euro focus. If the Outlook's reviews are accurate, the only problem I foresee is Saturn pushing upmarket too quickly (see VW for an example of how this can backfire.)

If the XR Redline is 30k, great. I just think it will be hard to sell $40k+ Outlooks to typical Saturn customers and converts may balk because they can go back to their previous brands at that price point.

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wow, you're off.  the XE is hardly a stripper.  the XE is a better package than the base camry's.  the Loaded XR's gives you all that you need and slots in pricewise under the competition, stealing sales.

more than you expect for less than what you thought.  sounds like success to me.

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My wife bought an Aura XE for exactly that reason, because for the price the only thing that rivalled it was the Koreans and she thought they felt like toys. She loves the interior and she looked at the Toyota and Honda 4 cyls and never went back. To a large degree I have been amazed at the features on the car (90% of my SRX for less than 1/2 the price). Nav would have been cool, but was not necessary in her mind.

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I just think it will be hard to sell $40k+ Outlooks to typical Saturn customers and converts may balk because they can go back to their previous brands at that price point.

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Hmm, but is GM targeting typical Saturn buyers anymore?

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I think that GM is allowing Saturn to finally grow up in the same way the people who bought the S-cars by the boatloads in the early 90's have.

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Why would you buy a Tourege unless you absolutely *had* to have a V-10 diesel SUV? And even if you were interested in a top of the line Tourege, there is the lovely and sumptuous Enclave for less money.

Chas and I were pricing Passats and to get the same level of equipment he has now we'd be pushing to 34k. If I'm going to spend 34k, I'm not buying a flipping VW <Pheaton syndrome anyone?>. The Aura has all the features except NAV <which we don't want anyway> and tops out at 28k.

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