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Flybrian

Saturn's New Retail Look

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Oh Give Me a Home, Where the Saturns all Roam
And the Auras and Outlooks all Play...
By Brian Dreggors


Establishing a brand identity today goes beyond merely styling cars a certain way. Effectively communicating your intentions for a product starts at manufacturing and ends when the vehicle is being purchased. To that end, retailers play a paramount role in the car buying experience. As the local representative for the manufacturer, they are the first to leave a good impression and also the first to leave a bad taste in one's mouth. Its often said a good dealer can sell a bad car, but not vice-versa and having good dealers is what Saturn is all about. This isn't to say its cars were bad - they were always rather good - but it wasn't enrapturing styling or 'gotta-have-it' that sold Saturns; it was the Saturn Experience.

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If anything, Saturn dealerships were decent places, if not a little on the bland side. As the Michigan retailer pictured above shows, the traditional outlet had all the glitz and glamour of the cars they sold. In short, they were there and they got the job done.

With new cars, however, comes new changes. Take a look at the next generation of Saturn retailers.

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Saturn of Warren outside of Detroit, Michigan, is the showcase for this new look and one of the first retailers to adopt it. Note the new lighting scheme surrounding the logo and how its noticable yet not blinding-bright at the same time. Extending out from the main entrance is an awning covering the entryway and also some new models. Lights in this architecture can be fitted with different-colored diffusers to eminate a glow of colors, perhaps to illuminate a new model arrival at night.

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The streetside monument is made of new design and materials that have a more upscale look than the traditional GM dealer mast. Note the continued use of light diffused behind the red Saturn logo as well as the metallic elements.

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Naturally, not every one of Saturn's 435 retailers will adopt the new changes. Though Saturn is providing financial help for those that agree to, its still an expensive proposition to revamp a dealer's facility and one only needs to remember the ill-fated Buick Flagship Dealer initiative to see why some are wary of taking such measures. However, as the brand moves upscale, so do the places where the cars is sold need to. Hopefully this makeover will provide a welcoming new face for future Saturn customers.

* Notes from the Board - Saturn Brand Advocate Board Meeting Recap
* Building on Tradition - A Tour of Lansing Delta Township Assembly
* The GM Heritage Center - A photographic tour of GM's most historic collection
* The Near-Future of Saturn - Get updated on the SKY, AURA, Astra, and come along for a quick drive in the 2008 VUE!
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New design looks very nice. All Saturn cars should likewise feature very subtly-lit Saturn logos on the nose, both as a gee-whiz feature, and as a strong link to the new dealerships.

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I like it. The backlit logo looks nice along with the arch of color surrounding it.

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excellent. the upgrades look really good. GM has some very recognizeable logos, so they just need to highlight them, and really make the dealerships stand out.

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I like it. I can't wait for the Saturn dealer in Flint to get a makeover...unfortunately it'll still have the Hyundai dealer eyesore right next to it.

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I like it. I can't wait for the Saturn dealer in Flint to get a makeover...unfortunately it'll still have the Hyundai dealer eyesore right next to it.

Unfortunately it'll still have that FLINT eyesore next to it :)

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Unfortunately it'll still have that FLINT eyesore next to it :)

Its a shame Flint got the way it is. I love the town, but you're absolutely right, its an eyesore.

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I'll have to wait and see a remodeled dealership in person. I'm not able to take it all in with these pics. Are they revamping the interiors too?

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I was amazed when the local Saturn dealership opened a few years ago. So nice and inviting. I never stepped inside but the view through the front widows was nice: it did not look like your typical white walled, cubicle dealership. The new lighting looks cool.

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