ocnblu

Autoweek magazine likes the ASTRA

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Just got my November 12 issue of Autoweek, and they give a mostly good review of the new ASTRA, lauding it for its highway stability (an Autobahn essential, so no surprise), its nicely made interior (while saying it is too dark), its good looks, and its robust-feeling chassis. Saturn claims a 9.7 second 0-60 time, and 28 mpg. It achieved 26 mpg in the test, not too bad I guess, for magazine leadfoots. Some complaints include: high highway revs (and subsequent buzziness from the 1.8L Ecotec) and windnoise from the A-pillars. Their as-tested price for a 3-door XR: $19,735.

Thinking back to my VWs, they were geared toward high highway revs (and buzziness) as well, I imagine it is to keep the 4 cylinder in its powerband for passing power without downshifting on the highway (an Autobahn essential, I guess, for safety, but a gas-eating strategy).

I really hope Saturn can successfully market-position this car so it sells well. It is priced substantially above the Rabbit 3-door (I know, I've said it before), more with the Mini Cooper and GTI. They're really going to have to hit the market directly on the head for it to make a dent, imo. Everybody in the world can see it is worlds better than the ION (except I think some will miss the plastic panels)... but will that be enough to get customers to pony up the big bucks?

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Just got my November 12 issue of Autoweek, and they give a mostly good review of the new ASTRA, lauding it for its highway stability (an Autobahn essential, so no surprise), its nicely made interior (while saying it is too dark), its good looks, and its robust-feeling chassis. Saturn claims a 9.7 second 0-60 time, and 28 mpg. It achieved 26 mpg in the test, not too bad I guess, for magazine leadfoots. Some complaints include: high highway revs (and subsequent buzziness from the 1.8L Ecotec) and windnoise from the A-pillars. Their as-tested price for a 3-door XR: $19,735.

Thinking back to my VWs, they were geared toward high highway revs (and buzziness) as well, I imagine it is to keep the 4 cylinder in its powerband for passing power without downshifting on the highway (an Autobahn essential, I guess, for safety, but a gas-eating strategy).

I really hope Saturn can successfully market-position this car so it sells well. It is priced substantially above the Rabbit 3-door (I know, I've said it before), more with the Mini Cooper and GTI. They're really going to have to hit the market directly on the head for it to make a dent, imo. Everybody in the world can see it is worlds better than the ION (except I think some will miss the plastic panels)... but will that be enough to get customers to pony up the big bucks?

Judging by the lack of mention in GM press releases, I'm thinking this car doesn't figure in too much into GM's plan for Saturn domination. I'm sad to say it probably won't get much of a marketing push and will have to rely on solid reviews and word of mouth to let anyone know the car is out, sadly this will only cover 20% of the market, and of those maybe .001% will buy an Astra and make the ultimate advertisement, the rolling one. That being said, if it looks good on streets and stands out, then you can bet there will be people in line. Small cars are in, baby. And especially ones that look and feel premium. Saturn has a hit, we just have to get the word out.
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Replace the 1.8 with a 2.0 litre turbo diesel and watch revs go down and milage go up.

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repeat after me: stopgap product. Expect far more out of the next gen.

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Nice car, and it completes Saturn's new and improved line-up, but it's too expensive and won't sell in any great numbers. The cheapest automatic model with A/C is $18,280.

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Joachim Winkelhock? :rotflmao:
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repeat after me: stopgap product. Expect far more out of the next gen.

you are correct sir, and that is what folks don't get.

aura, astra, etc. it's a lineup filler until the next round of more refined products hit.

it builds momentum and history for model names and in the market. think of all the crappy old tundras. now they keep improving it in theory, but they eventually gain more sales.

people rip the aura for sales but recall the L series was no seller. the ion sold, sure, but it was saturns only car. they needed a full line to exist. chevy is the volume player. saturn needs to sell like 50k of each model to move forward and keep the doors open.

i would make the argument for folding saturn but no cobalt will ever be as fun as the astra so......

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This stopgap product is far and away better than the Ion ever was. I think its a great product, despite not being perfect. The next gen model will give the Mazda 3 a run for its money. Hell, this stopgap is already better than the "new" 2009 Corolla/Matrix and the 2008 Focus.

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This stopgap product is far and away better than the Ion ever was. I think its a great product, despite not being perfect. The next gen model will give the Mazda 3 a run for its money. Hell, this stopgap is already better than the "new" 2009 Corolla/Matrix and the U.S. 2008 Focus.

Fixed.

Had Ford brought over the Euro version, it would have been a substantially closer contest.

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How could Ford have done that and not shot themselves in the foot? The Euro Focus, nice as it is, would have had to sell for the same price or higher than the ASTRA here in the US... it would have gone from a mainstream compact to a niche car.

Edmunds says the ASTRA is "the best small car GM has ever sold in the US". Great news we should celebrate as GM fans, but then again, it oughta be, for the price.

I do have to clarify something, I prefer the ASTRA's chiseled good looks to the blobby Rabbit Mk V. Based on spyshots, I think the Mk VI Rabbit will have sharper edges.

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Fixed.

Had Ford brought over the Euro version, it would have been a substantially closer contest.

Thanks. I neglected that. I need smacked.

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though this is veering a little off-topic, it would be interesting if Ford imported a limited amount of Euro focuses as a top sport model. Just call it the "Focus Eurosport" or something. It would help bring the image of the regular focus up a bit, and give the people that would be willing to pay for for the euro focus the chance. Limited import = command profit.

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the toyota lot i cruised today had lots of 16-17k yaris'. so maybe a 24k focus would sell?

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though this is veering a little off-topic, it would be interesting if Ford imported a limited amount of Euro focuses as a top sport model. Just call it the "Focus Eurosport" or something. It would help bring the image of the regular focus up a bit, and give the people that would be willing to pay for for the euro focus the chance. Limited import = command profit.

Not sure how they'd price it... the Volvo C30 is surprisingly inexpensive. And 10X better looking than the Focus.

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A Focus priced with a Mustang V6... yeah, funny. :AH-HA_wink:
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How could Ford have done that and not shot themselves in the foot? The Euro Focus, nice as it is, would have had to sell for the same price or higher than the ASTRA here in the US... it would have gone from a mainstream compact to a niche car.

Duplicate the tooling and put it in whatever plant the focus is being built at now. The car doesn't have to be imported... just the design.

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So you're saying that currency values being equal, the Euro Focus could be sold for the same price as the US version if it were just built here? How does that work? :huh: Edited by ocnblu
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No, I think it would be slightly higher than the current version... and with good reason.

Plus then the Fiesta can slot in underneath it.

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Have to wonder how much more a Euro Focus built in NA would have cost versus a Mazda 3 or VW Golf/Rabbit. I wish there were more "premium" compacts here.

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One thing I noticed while I was in Europe was that even though the exchange rate might be different. The numerical values for things stays fairly close. If you make 50,000 dollars for a particular job here in the US, it's likely you make about 50,000 Euros for the same job in Germany. Same thing seemed to be for housing. If just looking at numerical value, Cologne really isn't much more expensive to live in than Pittsburgh.

That said, a Focus starts at 14.975 euro.

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