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Oracle of Delphi

Saturn Sky Flying High, Pontiac Solstice Flagging?

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General Motors’ Pontiac Solstice and Saturn’s Sky both posted massive numbers out of the sales gates, but at least one of the two sports cars’ fortunes are flagging.

According to the New York Times, sales of the curvaceous Solstice have dropped 19 percent versus last year through the end of July, and GM suddenly has a glut of Pontiac-branded roadsters on its hands—nearly five months of inventory. Conversely, its under-the-skin twin, the Saturn Sky, continues to sell well, with a one-month inventory and an actual wait time for delivery.

So what’s going on here? Author Nick Bunkley seems to feel it’s a product of Saturn’s rising star in GM’s portfolio, and Pontiac’s status as a “damaged” brand. He also points out that the General is investing more into Saturn’s marketing efforts than Pontiac.

Link: http://news.windingroad.com/marketingadver...stice-flagging/

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Further, Bunkley notes that sales at Saturn are up 15 percent this year, but this strikes us as a bit misleading, as it fails to note that GM continues to expand the brand exponentially with new and/or revitalized models like the Outlook and Vue. The same is true for GMC. Pontiac, meanwhile, is waiting on critical new models like the G8.

Interesting how there is no mention of the "adjusted market value" the Pontiac dealers were adding to the price of a Solstice at launch.

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A huge reason is that Pontiac dealers are only ordering (or GM is only shipping??) loaded Solstices with almost every option. I looked into one and every Solstice in the 50 mile radius was over $30,000. NO $h! you're not selling them. Where did the $21,000 - 26,000 car go?

Not only that, but dealers are packing on BS dealer-installed options like splash guards to jack the price even more. Plus, my local dealer has two GXPs sitting on the lot, and one's an auto!? - And the other Solstices were auto too. Where's the autocross Solstices?

It's the product mix, stupid.

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Or, there's simply a limited market for 2 seaters with no trunk space and the smart money is going to a dealer with better service, better buying experience, little ADM and, possibly, a little better image?

(I also happen to think the Sky is better looking & I get the sense that Pontiac is the stepchild of the GMC-Buick-Ponitac stores...)

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This is deceptive though, as Solstice has actually sold more units than Sky YTD.

I love both of them and have met plenty of people who have a hard time deciding which one they want.

What the Solstice needs is the coupe variant, like yesterday. Sky should remain roadster only.

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This is deceptive though, as Solstice has actually sold more units than Sky YTD.

I love both of them and have met plenty of people who have a hard time deciding which one they want.

What the Solstice needs is the coupe variant, like yesterday. Sky should remain roadster only.

Well Said! Pontiac needs a Solstii coupe ASAP and that should be only Pontiac exclusive. People do have hard time deciding which one to choose. I think Pontiac needs fresh air as soon as possible.

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The lack of a true-to-concept coupe as well as the ridiculous 'value adjustments' hurt early Solstice sales. People act as if its all about the Pontiac image and while that plays a role in it, its not the sole cause or even one of the main ones for somewhat slow initial sales.

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i think there is some poor product planning still going on at gm. where is the coupe, why is it not here? how come the problems (cheap interior, no trunk) haven't been fixed? where is the ad campaign? where is the rest of the all new pontiac lineup to support it?

plain and simple, GM moves way to fuking slow and trips over itself. one step forward, two steps back.

saturn got an all new lineup right away. why didn't pontiac? where is the pontiac torana? where is the new GTO? g8 should have been here 6 months ago? why no all new g6?

at some point it makes you wonder if many folks including the untouchables shouldn't be fired. maybe shift decision making out of michigan too

they have money for buyouts, but they dont have money to make new products. PATHETIC.

Edited by regfootball
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I admit I like the Sky better than the Solstice, for me though, that's kind of like picking which child is your favorite (yes I am a breeder). :AH-HA_wink: If I was ever to buy one however, it would be the Solstice, because my BPG dealer (Anchor Buick, Pontiac, GMC Elkton-MD) is heads and shoulders above the Winner Group which runs Saturn of Newark-DE, Saturn of West Chester-PA, and Saturn of Salisbury-MD. The dealership experience is the deciding factor in many folk's decision on what vehicle they buy, but from what I see from my point of view, GM, doesn't get that.

Edited by Pontiac Custom-S
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IMO it comes down to styling...the Sky looks a lot nicer and I'm not even a Saturn fan.

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If I were to buy one, it would also be a Solstice.

Not for the look or the dealership, but for the SCCA prep package!

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The Sky looks a lot better. I never warmed up to the ugly Solstice grill. I was driving behind a Sky at night, and I couldn't tell what it was. The rear tail lights made me think it was a much more expensive car. Maybe Holden should be doing the design work for all of Pontiacs cars. They seem to be the only ones I like. (Or GM NA could keep doing them and we can get cars like the G6 GXP) Soon, the best looking car on Pontiacs lot will be the G8.

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A huge reason is that Pontiac dealers are only ordering (or GM is only shipping??) loaded Solstices with almost every option. I looked into one and every Solstice in the 50 mile radius was over $30,000. NO $h! you're not selling them. Where did the $21,000 - 26,000 car go?

Not only that, but dealers are packing on BS dealer-installed options like splash guards to jack the price even more. Plus, my local dealer has two GXPs sitting on the lot, and one's an auto!? - And the other Solstices were auto too. Where's the autocross Solstices?

It's the product mix, stupid.

Agreed. Same issue here...

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IMO it comes down to styling...the Sky looks a lot nicer and I'm not even a Saturn fan.

Couldn't agree more.

The Sky looks great, the Solstice has a face.... well.... it's got "love it or hate it" styling.

There, I said it without saying the Solstice is ugly in comparison...

(Ooops!)

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How are Solstice sales flagging when it outsells the Sky every month? Sure, it is probably only because it is available at more locations, but sales are still good and on pace with the Miata.

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Anyone know the ratio of sales of Solstice VS Sky? Seems like originally they were planning production of 3:1 IIRC.

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The original goal was to sell 20,000 Pontiac Solstices, 10,000 Saturn SKYs, and the remaining 10,000 worth of SKY production was going to be split however between the Deawoo G2X and the Opel GT. So when you look at sales figures (Sol vs SKY), the Solstice will always *appear* to sell more than the SKY. PCS may be able shed more light, if he's allowed, on what the actual Sol vs SKY mix really is. When I was at the plant tour in May, there seemed to be more SKY RLs on the assembly line than Solstices (but that is just by my observation, I didn't actually count the cars, and I'm more baised towards the SKY anyway).

I will say this, a good majority of the people I meet and talk to about the SKY vs the Solstice tend to like the chisled shape of the SKY over the jellybean look of the Solstice. When I took my SKY to a local car show in May, the local Pontiac dealer had one of their many Solstices on display, about 500 feet away from my car. I overheard many people compare the two, saying they liked the SKY better (and most didn't know I was the owner of the SKY, because I wasn't sitting in or near my car most of the time).

One funny thing to realize is that when you drive by a Pontiac dealership, you'll see 2 or more Solstices on the lot. Try doing that with many of the Saturn dealerships around. Saturn was originally not allowing dealers to order SKYs for inventory (you had to have customer's info in order to place the order). I know my selling dealership only had SKYs on hand when the customer cancelled their order (didn't want to wait, changed to the RL model from their ordered base model, or went with another car).

But this is just really a pissing contest... we should be more concerned on how the Kappa twins are selling combined against their competition.

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i think people are missing the fact that the solstice has tougher competition now. the SKY is just gorgeous and more premium. if you want a bare-bones roadster the Miata makes a convincing argument as well.

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A huge reason is that Pontiac dealers are only ordering (or GM is only shipping??) loaded Solstices with almost every option. I looked into one and every Solstice in the 50 mile radius was over $30,000. NO $h! you're not selling them. Where did the $21,000 - 26,000 car go?

Not only that, but dealers are packing on BS dealer-installed options like splash guards to jack the price even more. Plus, my local dealer has two GXPs sitting on the lot, and one's an auto!? - And the other Solstices were auto too. Where's the autocross Solstices?

It's the product mix, stupid.

This is the same thing I found when looking for our Solstice GXP. I live in Ohio and could not find a GXP that was not completely loaded. I did not want to spend $2500 - $3500 more for things I did not want or need. After searching for a while, we ended up finding our car in PA. Dealer was great, no added mark-up and no added fluff. My GXP has only 4 options, and that is enough for me. The sticker was 29,990.00. I agree with the quoted post, seems like the dealers have something hot now and have to get as much profit as possible. Oh well, at least we have our little monster now, could not be happier. This little car rocks. :D

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One funny thing to realize is that when you drive by a Pontiac dealership, you'll see 2 or more Solstices on the lot. Try doing that with many of the Saturn dealerships around. Saturn was originally not allowing dealers to order SKYs for inventory (you had to have customer's info in order to place the order). I know my selling dealership only had SKYs on hand when the customer cancelled their order (didn't want to wait, changed to the RL model from their ordered base model, or went with another car).

True, oddly enough. For a while there, I never saw either at any dealer--they'd get them, but they'd either be special orders or just sold away immediately. Then with time, I still have never seen a Sky on the lot either in PA or at home, but in the past few months now see Solstices sitting on dealer lots. Noticed it immediately when the GM dealer at home, who has like 1 Vette a year, if that, let alone Solstices, now had 2 sitting side by side out in front of the lot.

That's NOT to say the Solstice is now a slow seller--very far from it--but just that supply/demand has finally settled out more, while the Sky still seems to be an instant disappearer, likely a combination of looks and the whole "Saturn experience".

It's still odd though, given that the supply of each does seem somewhat equaled out, yet there's far less "just went to the dealer and bought Sky sitting there" than there is with the Solstice.

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Not only that, but dealers are packing on BS dealer-installed options like splash guards to jack the price even more. Plus, my local dealer has two GXPs sitting on the lot, and one's an auto!? - And the other Solstices were auto too. Where's the autocross Solstices?

You know, on the trans choices, they were manual only at first, which did limit (well, if you could call it that) the buyer base. Then when they added the auto, there as always was a HUGE influx of people who had either no desire for or just can't drive a stick, who got the auto. Dealers I've seen still seem to get a mix, but based on typical customer want alone, it's the Auto cars that are always in demand--Turbo cars especially, where people get the extra boost but can still just put it in Drive and go.

They HAVE definitely seemed to get more bloated in options and pricing, though. Of course, with time, some of that is just that GM is offering more choices in things, but at the same time, though you could easily find a mid 20's Solstice when they first came out, now 97% of them seem to be the $28-32k variety with every single option box checked. Again, a lot of it is demand (people buying an impulse car like this usually just want everything), so a dealer wouldn't just stock crank windowed, no A/C, stick cars just because...

Edited by caddycruiser
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i like the way the designs split, the saturn seems aimed at the younger marked with refined body lines and a sharper image. the solstice seems geared to the older folks that like the curvy lines. the pontiac makes me think c2 vette lines, the sky more like a european sports car. i like the sky better, but previous posts nail it on the head, if a dealer wants to sell a car have one in the inventory with everything on it as a demo or something but dont have 5 loaded to the gills in different colors unless you want to take a hit cause the majority of people just wont pay 31000 for a roadster, 27K is plenty steep enough.

the sky seems like the one with the exclusivity. we got 5 or 6 solstices runnin around my town and i have only seen one sky in a year.

Edited by cletus8269
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Too bad GM wasted such a fine car on two brands that aren't going anywhere but down. Had they made 30,000 Chevrolet Stingrays instead not only would they command a high price and profit but these cars would actually be collectible in future. The Solstice, as good a car as it is, will be like the Fiero in 20 years time - an interesting low-priced hobby with little collectible interest. Even worse for the Sky.

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Too bad GM wasted such a fine car on two brands that aren't going anywhere but down. Had they made 30,000 Chevrolet Stingrays instead not only would they command a high price and profit but these cars would actually be collectible in future. The Solstice, as good a car as it is, will be like the Fiero in 20 years time - an interesting low-priced hobby with little collectible interest. Even worse for the Sky.

Could you please stop posting so much damn bull$h!? You must have a crystal f@#king ball. How the hell do you know what's going to happen in 20 years time? The Solstice commanded a high price, and Skys sell for sticker. GM is making plenty of profit off of them. You say the Chevy could actually be collectible but that the Solstice will end up like the Fiero, how the hell do you know?

Also, the Chevy Stingray is going to command a higher price? How? You want the 2.4L version to start at $30k or something and the SS to be $40k? Please inform me who is going to pay $40k for a Chevy roadster when the Vette is not that much more? Please, go have your head examined.

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I noticed looking at used ones, the Sky usually is $25,000+ used, while the Solstice is typically $22-23,000. I know the Sky is more new, but it seems that they don't lose value at all and are in high demand. If the Solstice had a Toyota badge on front it would double it's sales easily. Problem is, it's a Pontiac, and most people think of Pontiac as a cheap, plastic inside and body cladded outside rental car.

Pontiacs are low priced, mainly fleet cars, that makes them undesireable. Vibe has a base of about $16,000, G5, 15,000, G6 $18,000, Grand Prix and Torrent were around $22,000. Those are rather low considering the average new car sale price is $30,000 and most CamCord type cars are $22-26,000. Pontiac has become GM's lowest end brand really, almost like Plymouth was in the 90s.

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