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FUTURE_OF_GM

Dealership drive by...

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Stopped by the dealer, for the first time in a LONG time (Saturn, Pontiac, Buick, GMC, Chevrolet, Cadillac) to get my first good look at an Astra.

I like the 3 door quite a bit, but I'm not floored by it like I thought I would be. The 5 door is just down right bland IMO.

It seems that the americans can take Opel designs and put the "final touch" on the theme to make it look awesome. For example, both the Sky and the Outlook are MUCH more striking and impressive to look at and even the Aura radiates a certain elegance that the Astra only dreams of and the Vue looks better made and more substantial eventhough I'm not a huge fan of the design.

This scares me, because along with it's inability to manage a paltry 3 divisions, to think that GME can somehow run Saturn as well as GMNA as a whole is ridiculous. I think Saturn is going to be in even bigger trouble when the new models get here because 1) They seem to lack refinement in details 2) They don't really have a cohesive theme that will appeal to americans and 3) If the prices go up, they'll be an even harder sell. I predict that Saturn might become the VW of General Motors in that it has huge aspirations only to fail in the long run.

Maybe it's just because this Astra is a dated design already (It is a couple of years old, right?) but I would take a Mazda 3 and probably a VW over it any day of the week. Conclusion; the Astra is pretty nice, but not nice enough to be a homerun, especially given the price.

Other notes:

SATURN: I still think the Outlook probably ties for first as the sexiest Lambda in production (No small feat, since I really love all 3 and the Traverse) I have yet to see a Vue RL, dammit.

PONTIAC: I've always liked the Solstice better than the Sky but as much as I hate to say it, the Sky is aging much better. The targa and facelift can't come soon enough. I've seen 2 Vibes so far and not been very happy with either, but today I got my first look at a Vibe GT and WOW, what a world of difference the bigger graphite gray wheels and more agressive bumpers make! I REALLY liked the GT a lot and I think it's perfect for what Pontiac needs to move some volume. Does it convey the image of the division well? The GT very well could... If it were marketed right. Is it a nice, affordable wagon that GM could capitalize on and help revive Pontiac with? ABSOLUTELY! Again, if it's actually marketed. I still haven't gotten a close up of the G6 GXP with body mods, I wish the dealer had one. Ditto the G8 (Which is the reason I came out in the first place) I also got my first really good look at a Torrent GXP as they seem to be rare. It looks nice, but not as nice as the Equinox Sport. The badging in the middle of the door looks horrible and, like the G6 GXP, this model isn't worthy of it's name.

BUICK: The Lacrosse Super looks nice, for a touch up, the Enclave is amazing as always and unfortunately no Lucerne Supers were on the lot.

GMC: The Sierra Denali is probably the sexiest truck I've seen in quite some time.

CHEVROLET: No HHR panel or SS. (DAMMIT!) Interesting that the formerly known Cobalt SS is now designated the lame name of "sport" with an equally lame badge. Seriously GM, why not use RS or something with a bit of panache? The Malibu is freakin' sweet and this dealer only had 1. I think I'm seriously in love with the Equinox Sport. I could really see something like this as a daily driver to save my fleet of Camaros for the weekend, when I get out of school.

CADILLAC: The CTS is a gorgeous car... And it pulls this off through proportion and design, unlike so many GM offerings of recent memory that use 'bling' or extra equipment or trim. The STS is completely outclassed and redundant now. And this got me to thinking about something: GM's idea that it does not need a mainstream V8 in it's Cadillac line for future cars. We keep hearing that "Our buyers are overwhelmingly choosing the V6." Well DUH?!?!?! That's what happens when 1) You sell *ALL* of your volume to NEW buyers in ONE segment, specifically the entry point to your division. The STS and CTS serve the same clientele and naturally people are going to pick the CTS because it is better in every way and guess what; 2) The CTS doesn't offer a V8. So how can you accurately gauge the future of your product line up on demand for basically one, relatively cheap by comparison, offering? The SRX doesn't count because it's basically a CTS wagon and shares the same fate as the STS. The DTS doesn't count because it sells to traditional Cadillac buyers.

I certainly hope that GM isn't going to screw Cadillac up in the future, but it looks as if they will. We currently have the same scenario that we had circa 2000 when the division was revived. 2 VERY strong models carrying the entire franchise with the rest of the models in jeopardy. GM will milk the CTS dry by offering the V, a wagon and a coupe (Which is good as long as the product is good) and GM will continue to ride the successful Escalade as it appeals to a lot of people who don't give a rats ass about fuel prices. And the STS will be phased out, as it should be. But the DTS and ULS (If there is one) are now in limbo since certain operations are trying to kill the foundation for both cars. Not to mention, Alpha won't be on line until 2011 or so and as far as we know is being delayed daily and XLR plans are non existant. So GM is set to miss out big time on the market once again as the europeans cash in on the small luxury segment LONG before GM gets there and the more profitable/halo models are not established decreasing the appeal and momentum of Cadillac substantially.

[/end :soapbox:]

P.S. Sorry about the crappy structure. Like a lot of my posts, I wrote this in pieces while I was doing other work.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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I keep exposing myself to the Asstra, but I always come away feeling less than thrilled over it... it feels... emotionless or something. It is missing a certain passion. It certainly has that German stiff upper lip.
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I haven't seen a Saturn Astra in person, but I often saw Opel Astras in Europe and they look great over there in context with everything else that is on European roads (which is typically pretty bland). I'd be interested to see how they fit on our streets.

I saw my first '08 Malibu up-close today at the local dealership and they are really nice cars with great detailing. I can see why it's doing so well in the magazine comparos. Considering the fuel prices, I may be tempted to go for something a little more economical like a Malibu when it's time to get a new car.

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you need to sit in an astra before you form a final impression of it. my guess is it's worth a drive too.

the focus are flying off the lots at the dealer by my house tho......i guess you need cupholders and sync more than anything these days....:)

regarding the malibu, already tired of it and not that impressed. me likes the aura better and the fusion better yet even. the fusion with the sport package is really excellent. when the 010 fusion hits with the new powertrains (and ecoboost) and new look and revisions, it will be even better.

to me at least.

Edited by regfootball
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The base ASTRA without alloys looks pretty dumpy... the XR models with the sport package are much nicer. The black leather package (leather seats with nice stitching, leather wrap wheel, leather door inserts) changes things too. Regarldess of 3- or 5-door, I prefer it inside and out to the generic Cobalt, which actually doesn't cost much less.. ASTRA's not bad for a four year old car.

Edited by empowah
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??? The Cobalt, "generic"? How so... it's got Chevy DNA from stem to stern. Yes, the dash may be a lower-budget echo of the previous-gen Jetta, but otherwise, it's all Chevy, especially the coupe.
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The base ASTRA without alloys looks pretty dumpy... the XR models with the sport package are much nicer. The black leather package (leather seats with nice stitching, leather wrap wheel, leather door inserts) changes things too. Regarldess of 3- or 5-door, I prefer it inside and out to the generic Cobalt, which actually doesn't cost much less.. ASTRA's not bad for a four year old car.

Oh yeah, it blows the Cobalt out of the water.

Unless of course, we're speaking of a Cobalt SS turbo :lovey::drool:

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Well the Asstra starts about $4000 higher than the Cobalt. The Cobalt is a traditional Detroit small car (a perfectly fine example, imo), the Asstra, an experiment on these shores. My current, recurring Cobalt is a 2LT 5 speed coupe with chrome package, Pioneer stereo, and leather wheel, $17,080. It comes with ABS and head curtains, plus it has a more emotional design than the Astra, which, although it's a hatch, has a pretty small cargo area, imo. Yes, both cars are getting old. Let's see what's coming on Delta II.

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Well the Asstra starts about $4000 higher than the Cobalt.

...with a lot more standard options...

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True Perdue
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The Astra is a much better car if you choose to admire it from a distance, in my opinion.

Edited by YellowJacket894
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??? The Cobalt, "generic"? How so... it's got Chevy DNA from stem to stern. Yes, the dash may be a lower-budget echo of the previous-gen Jetta, but otherwise, it's all Chevy, especially the coupe.

What, besides the horizontal bar in the grill, exudes Chevy DNA on the front 3/4 of the coupe? With the sedan, what, if any Chevy DNA is there? The front fascia could have come from a number of manufacturers, same with the body. The only thing with any ounce of Chevy DNA is the rear of the coupe. The Cobalt is very much generic in every sense of the word, don't be foolish. On the other hand, if you mean Chevy DNA as in being genetically generic... :P

While I haven't seen it in person, I still like the Astra, namely the 3-door. For a hatchback, it's quite nice.

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Turn around, you'll see your AssTra! I just hope your still not dragging it around. :smilewide:

No, but I sat on it all day today. :lol:

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I don't like the Cobalt, but I do like the ASTRA. Perhaps if the Sedan came here, I'd seriously consider it for a second car. (The TwinTop would rule as well)

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I still have to drive the Astra to see what I think of it....

I sat in a 3 door XR at the auto show, and it was pretty nice....

I like the Cobalt, but I'm very curious to see what it will look like on D II......

The HHR is a fun drive, while the new Vibe drove sportier than I though...

Sadly FOG, I have yet to see a GT or a 2.4 Vibe here yet.....just base ones...

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Viper, as for the Cobalt coupe, the roofline is an evolution of the '88+ Cavalier, and it could even be seen as a continuation of the old H-body Monza hatchback theme, with its triangular quarter glass. The sedan has a "friendly" Chevrolet demeanor that is recognizable, again, an evolution of the J-body themes. The H-body Monza and the later J-body and Delta Chevrolets also share some characteristics with European GM small cars. Look up some pictures of old Vauxhall Cavaliers and certain Opels. Look at the shape of the A-pillar and upper door frames on the Astra and the Cobalt/G5. They're all related and distinctively GM, nothing generic there.
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Actually I really like the Astra. For what it is, and its price, it is hard to beat.

Don't faint, I actually like it much better than the Civic and the Mazda 3.

Car handles well and is very well built. To me it is really worth the premium over a Cobalt.

Chris

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