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Saturn officially considers smaller-than-Astra car

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GM May Add Smaller Saturn Car to Meet Rising Demand
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Link to Original Article @ Bloomberg


June 8 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Corp.'s Saturn, the fastest-growing brand in the U.S. this year, may add a smaller car because of rising demand for fuel-efficient models.

"We think there is definitely room at the bottom for an economy car for Saturn,'' Lisa Hutchinson, the brand's product- development director, said today in an interview in New York. "There is a growing interest in fuel economy as prices have gone up."

She didn't say when the division might add the car, known as a subcompact. The Opel Corsa subcompact, one of GM's most popular models in Europe, is a possible candidate for Saturn's lineup, she said. Saturn and Opel have been sharing vehicles.

Saturn already has benefited from new models such as the Aura sedan and Outlook sport-utility vehicle that have helped boost its U.S. sales 30 percent through May. Subcompact sales have increased 43 percent, the most of any vehicle segment, as average gasoline prices rose as high as a record $3.23 a gallon.

Subcompacts include models such as Toyota Motor Corp.'s Yaris, GM's Chevrolet Aveo and Honda Motor Co.'s Fit.

"Those are a good vehicle to have in your lineup because they generate interest in the brand and showroom traffic," said Jim Hossack, an analyst at AutoPacific Inc. in Tustin, California. "It's a reasonably good fit for Saturn, a good idea."

Saturn's smallest vehicle now is the Ion car, which the division will replace late this year with the Opel Astra.

The current lineup for Saturn includes the Aura, added in last year's second half; the Ion; the Sky sports car, added in 2006's first half; the Outlook, added late last year; the Relay minivan; and the Vue SUV. The division also began selling a gasoline-electric hybrid version of the Vue in late 2006.

The division will have five 2008 models, Hutchinson said.

Competitive Test Drives

Saturn dealerships on June 11 will begin a program that lets their prospective buyers test-drive Toyota Camry and Honda Accord sedans for comparison to the Aura.

All but about five of Saturn's 430 U.S. dealerships volunteered for the program, which runs through July 31, Hutchinson said. The dealers will buy the Toyota and Honda vehicles themselves, she said. Hutchinson declined to say how much the program will cost.

The Camry is the best-selling car in the U.S. this year. The Accord is third, behind the Camry and Toyota's Corolla. Sales through May totaled 193,900 for the Camry, 153,431 for the Accord and 22,535 for the Aura.

GM shares rose $1.32, or 4.4 percent, to $31 at 4:20 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. They have gained less than 1 percent this year.
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Hopefully the bring it, it's one of the best looking subcompacts I think.

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Front actually looks pretty good. Back reminds me of a Versa but eh, its a subcompact. It could look worse. Interior has some neat lighting elements to it too.

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The Corsa is an extremely competent product in an increasingly popular segment. I see no reason why this isn't a good idea.

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Hasn't it already pretty much been stated that Saturn is getting the next gen Corsa? They looked at bringing the current gen, found that it'd take 3 years & a ton of money, and the next gen was 5 years away (getting closer to 4 now?), so they were just gonna wait on the next gen.

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Well Honda changed their minds at the last minute (right at the end of the model cycle), so who knows, if the demand is there GM may as well.

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This needs to happen, Corsa is a sweet little car (ha, my opinion is based on reviews in British car mags and photos).
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If they make a convertible, or a competitive RL version, Americans would go for it. I wonder how long it will take for VW to get some of their smaller offerings over... hmm

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Yeah we need this here. Give some competition for the Yaris, which seems to be selling a lot here and is nearly not as competitive.

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I mean really would it take 3 years to get it here? I think they could do it in a year and a half to dealers to be honest but it is not a priority for them that is the real issue in addition to the fact they want to wait to see how the Astra does before they commit. I bet if the Astra flies off the lots they will all of a sudden find a way to get the Corsa here in short order.

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I just can't understand why other manufacturers seem to bring on new entry level models so effortlessly and for GM it's always years away, often appearing unsure. This car should have been here already.

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The current gen Corsa does not meet US safety requirements. That means a bunch of time in engineering, testing, and manufacturing setup. It adds complexity to the manufacturing to have that much more variation in the product, which also adds cost. Personally, I think they should split the difference by waiting until the next gen, but speeding the next gen up.

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If they make a convertible, or a competitive RL version, Americans would go for it. I wonder how long it will take for VW to get some of their smaller offerings over... hmm

Are the OPC's 192 hp competitive enough? :smilewide:
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I just can't understand why other manufacturers seem to bring on new entry level models so effortlessly and for GM it's always years away, often appearing unsure. This car should have been here already.

Which ones? GM already has the Aveo in the US, the first major manufacture to offer a competitive subcompact (after Kia and Hyundai). Nissan doesn't have one (anywhere, except for the Cube and Note MPVs, and the latter is almost a compact hatch—the Versa is a compact, with a higher price and larger engine to match), Toyota was even later with the Yaris sedan (the swb hatch is still too small to count), Honda was so late with the Fit a new one is already overdue, Misubishi doesn't offer one in North America (despite having the Colt everywhere else), nor does Chrysler, Ford (which has a hatch and two different Fiesta sedans elsewhere). VW (it has two different Polo sedans, plus the Polo and Fox hatchbacks), Subaru, or Mazda (which had two in Japan). Suzuki is still trying to pretend the Aerio/SX4 is a compact by offering a big engine and increasing the overall length (but not the wheelbase).
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Odd that Toyota's first really competitive B-segment hatch (the Scion xD) should abandon the entry level by opting for a larger 1.8 L engine instead of the more frugal 1.5 or the new 1.6 L Dual-VVT; and is not offered in any market where similar-sized subcompact hatches make up a major market sector. It's like they are looking for an excuse for doing so badly in the Yaris's price class: "It sells well compared other vehicles its size. Just don't mention that we charge as much the next segment up, OK?"

Edited by thegriffon
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Are the OPC's 192 hp competitive enough? :smilewide:

OMG! A Corsa ten HP better than a Pontiac Torrent? Ten HP short of a Cadillac CTS '07? I'm getting numb. Let me start counting ma pennies... lol

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OMG! A Corsa ten HP better than a Pontiac Torrent? Ten HP short of a Cadillac CTS '07? I'm getting numb. Let me start counting ma pennies... lol

OMG! Comparing the HP on a subcompact to a 4000lb SUV and a 3700lb car? The Lotus Elise only has 190hp but I wouldn't consider it a slow car. The Hummer H2 has 316hp, maybe Saturn should have one of them to use for their RL version?
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If they make a convertible, or a competitive RL version, Americans would go for it. I wonder how long it will take for VW to get some of their smaller offerings over... hmm

Maybe something like this?

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Yeah this car should be on it's way over ALONG SIDE the astra. 3 years is bogus on a car that is already up and running. safty tests and regulations should not take 3 years to complete.

A car like this is a no brainer... it's competitive and LOOKS GOOD. The Aveo is insanely blah and should not be a reason for GM to hold back bringing out any other subcompacts. With the black Aveo and hideous Yaris the Corsa would bring people back to GM.

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I own a previous gen Corsa C (albeit slightly modded) and even it makes the Chevy Aveo look just plain awful. Saturn need to get the new Corsa D to you guys ASAP.

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I own a previous gen Corsa C (albeit slightly modded) and even it makes the Chevy Aveo look just plain awful. Saturn need to get the new Corsa D to you guys ASAP.

Yeah, the Aveo is horrible.... I'd take a Focus over the Aveo...

Can't believe I just said that!

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