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Insignia will come to U.S. as a Saturn, with new sheetmetal, interior

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What happened to Saturn = Opel, and Aura = Insignia?

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What happened to Saturn = Opel, and Aura = Insignia?

Maybe Chevy got concerned that the Insignia looked too good relative the Malibu and told Saturn to tone it down..

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I think GM realized that they couldn't possibly sell the Euro version of the Insignia here as a Saturn because the Euro version is too upscale and would need to be priced too high to appeal to Saturn's shoppers. So we will get a cheapened and decontented version that will essentially continue to compete with the Malibu. Instead of launching Opel in the U.S. and offering their products here essentially unchanged from their Euro counterparts to properly target the premium, import flavored market, GM will continue to support Saturn and allow it to cannibalize Chevrolet sales.

Why not make Chevrolet strong enough to challenge Toyota, Honda, etc. in the mainstream market? If GM would do this right, then they wouldn't need three divisions (Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Saturn) to cover the same mainstream portion of the market. GM could then fully convert Saturn into Opel and mold Opel's image and product portfolio to target buyers who prefer premium, import flavored vehicles. Right now, Chevrolet, Saturn, and Pontiac are just cannibalizing each other's sales instead of helping GM to gain back market share. It seems to me that the money wasted to give each of these three divisions products that target the same portion of the market could be better spent properly launching Opel in the U.S. to attract new buyers back to the corporation.

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>>"Maybe Chevy got concerned that the Insignia looked too good relative the Malibu and told Saturn to tone it down."<<

I thought there was no 'Chevy', just marketing names from 1 corporation.

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So what this is saying is that GM still doesn't get it and that they should just dump the Saturn brand and have German engineered and marketed Opels already? Edited by MyerShift

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>>"Maybe Chevy got concerned that the Insignia looked too good relative the Malibu and told Saturn to tone it down."<<

I thought there was no 'Chevy', just marketing names from 1 corporation.

Well, the marketing organisations compete with each other, no doubt..

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Guest aatbloke

The 2003 Malibu was essentially a Vectra platform, shod with a different bodyshell, different interior, and different powertrains.

The next Aura then sounds no different in concept to the current Aura, which took the Vectra's extended Epsilon platform, and gave it a different bodyshell, different interior, and different powertrains.

So, the entire concept is no different to the 2003 Malibu.

GM's statement last year that "Opel and Saturn will be indistinguishable by 2014" is already losing credibility, in the same way that the Chevrolet Beat was confirmed for the US and a short time later, it wasn't.

This is where GM differs from Toyota, which firmly understands its markets and sticks to its gameplan.

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Hmm... Well we know Buick is getting a version of the Insignia in China as the next gen Regal, maybe that's why? Insignia will still come to the US, but as a Buick Regal positioned under Invicta?

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I think GM realized that they couldn't possibly sell the Euro version of the Insignia here as a Saturn because the Euro version is too upscale and would need to be priced too high to appeal to Saturn's shoppers. So we will get a cheapened and decontented version that will essentially continue to compete with the Malibu. Instead of launching Opel in the U.S. and offering their products here essentially unchanged from their Euro counterparts to properly target the premium, import flavored market, GM will continue to support Saturn and allow it to cannibalize Chevrolet sales.

Why not make Chevrolet strong enough to challenge Toyota, Honda, etc. in the mainstream market? If GM would do this right, then they wouldn't need three divisions (Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Saturn) to cover the same mainstream portion of the market. GM could then fully convert Saturn into Opel and mold Opel's image and product portfolio to target buyers who prefer premium, import flavored vehicles. Right now, Chevrolet, Saturn, and Pontiac are just cannibalizing each other's sales instead of helping GM to gain back market share. It seems to me that the money wasted to give each of these three divisions products that target the same portion of the market could be better spent properly launching Opel in the U.S. to attract new buyers back to the corporation.

I always think...hey, isn't Saturn's 'new' plan the exact same mindspace that Olds was going for before they were euthanized? Wouldn't Saturn's wishfull pricing look like bargains if they sat in an Olds showroom?

Saturn should have forever been the inexpensive (note: not same as 'cheap'), fun-to-drive odd ball from Spring Hill. Would've at least been easier to sell...

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Maybe Chevy got concerned that the Insignia looked too good relative the Malibu and told Saturn to tone it down..

BINGO.

the aura sales have gone up with the high gas prices and the intro of the 4 cylinder and dropping of prices.

and yes, the beancounters got scared. they were afraid again of giving the customers more than what they expected instead of the GM usual (what we can get away with cheaply).

if this insignia does not come to this market in tact, then officially i am done with GM.

if the insignia hit the sales floor tomorrow here in the US or when it does in Europe, AS IS, would almost singlehandedly revive GM assuming the prices were good.

GM can't punch their way out of a paper bag however.

One thing, maybe there is a plan to sell the aura and insignia side by side for awhile.

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BINGO.

I disagree. I think the Insigna's content/equipment would position it closer to the LaCrosse. I think GM is scared that the Insignia would hurt LaCrosse sales.

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This is a new development, isn't it? I would imagine the new Aura is now much delayed. Unless he means it will be different in the same way that the Vue and Antara have slightly different trim and interiors.

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Why mess with the interior? That's the best part about the Insigina. Honestly you could bring the whole car here and it would be fine, unless they were to make the front end a bit more aggressive...I'd be all for that.

Dumbing down the car for this market does not a segment killer make.

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I disagree. I think the Insigna's content/equipment would position it closer to the LaCrosse. I think GM is scared that the Insignia would hurt LaCrosse sales.

<dripping sarcasm>........oh....but GM has no problem with "too many models, too many divisions"

If this were the case, it would be a textbook case of how a proper product decision (bringing the Insignia over here in some capacity) being hampered by GM's decades' old problem of too many models and divisions stepping on each others' toes.

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<dripping sarcasm>........oh....but GM has no problem with "too many models, too many divisions"

If this were the case, it would be a textbook case of how a proper product decision (bringing the Insignia over here in some capacity) being hampered by GM's decades' old problem of too many models and divisions stepping on each others' toes.

Well, GM hasn't figured out how to resahpe its brand structur in NA, that's for sure. And unlike what most people here think, tiny Saab isn't the real problem. The problem is having a brand aspiring to having bigger volume (Opel/Saturn) fighting with two other brands that are struggling (Pontiac and Buick), with all 3 brands wishing they can occupy the same space above Chevrolet. Also, a big part of the problem is Cadillac not being able to move upmarket fast enough to give those 'lesser' brands some breathing room.

Re the Insignia/Aura thing, maybe Saturn could have everything smaller than EpII and leave that to Buick, but there are a lot of different options to consider at this point. I think GM is delaying the Aura to consider all of those options, including the starving of one or more brands.

Edited by ZL-1

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Why mess with the interior? That's the best part about the Insigina. Honestly you could bring the whole car here and it would be fine, unless they were to make the front end a bit more aggressive...I'd be all for that.

Dumbing down the car for this market does not a segment killer make.

You'd think they'd have learned that, especially with such grrrreat, offerings like the Cadillac Catera, and Ford Contour. <_<

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Guest aatbloke
You'd think they'd have learned that, especially with such grrrreat, offerings like the Cadillac Catera, and Ford Contour. <_<

Both of these cars were great cars which were dumbed down for the North American market. Indeed, the Omega was fleet favourite with police forces.

In the case if the Catera, GM chose to use the worst engine from the entire Omega range - the lumpy 3 litre V6. The Omega's 2.5 was a far superior unit. The Catera also came in just the sedan body style. The Omega was reknowned for its handling, with the European press often put on the same mantle as the 5-series of the time.

In the case of the Contour, Ford took the Mondeo underpinnings, front doors and front wings (it shared no other body panels with the Mondeo) and threw the rest of the Mondeo away. It used inferior brakes to the Mondeo, a sloppier suspension, poorer quality materials, and reduced the rear headroom with a coupe-like sloping rear roofline which was unique to the Contour/Mystique. Compared with the Mondeo, the Contour felt like it was literally thrown together.

Both GM and Ford have traditionally either poorly marketed their European products in North America, or dumbed them down significantly. The Focus was also greatly dumbed down for the States - it used cheap interior and exterior materials compared with the European Focus, as evidenced with the mirrors, B-pillar and seath cloths - however it was a big sales success.

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Why don't they just make the Insignia a 'LaCrosse'? The Invicta, if it's big enough, can be the 'Lucerne'.

The next AURA can continue to be a restyled Malibu - which, like the Cruze, will be a global Chevrolet.

The Epsilon-II hierarchy can go like this...

Entry-level; GM-DAT

Chevrolet Malibu/Epica; Daewoo Tosca

Saturn AURA

Pontiac G6

Mid-grade SWB; GME

Opel Insignia; Buick LaCrosse, US/Regal, China

Mid-grade LWB; GME

Buick Invicta, US/LaCrosse, China

Premium (i.e., double wishbone) SWB; GME

Saab 9-3

Premium LWB; GME

Saab 9-5

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Well they are going to dumb the car down because the bean counters and accountants got a hold of it, or they think no one will pay $30,000 for a Saturn since they make those dent resistant door cars for college kids, or they don't want it to compete with Buick's Epsilon, or Saab's Epsilon, so they need to price it a little lower, but not too low to compete with Chevy or Pontiac's epsilon.

Clearly there isn't a too many models. too many brands problem.

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Well they are going to dumb the car down because the bean counters and accountants got a hold of it, or they think no one will pay $30,000 for a Saturn since they make those dent resistant door cars for college kids, or they don't want it to compete with Buick's Epsilon, or Saab's Epsilon, so they need to price it a little lower, but not too low to compete with Chevy or Pontiac's epsilon.

Clearly there isn't a too many models. too many brands problem.

Ok, first of all Saturn no longer has dent resistant door panels. 2nd the Buick Epsilon should compete with the ES, that is not Saturn's territory. The current 9-3 starts at close to $30k, again not Saturn's territory except for the upper end, plus Saab is a niche brand and the 9-3 is going to be the size of a Cruze, and the 9-5 starts at $38k. No Saturn sedan should cost that much, ever. If the Insignia/Aura is priced at Passat levels ($24k to $33k or so, forget the VR6), it should not overlap too much with the Buick Epsilon, which should start at $31k if comparably equipped to a base ES ($34k). Aura and Malibu should have different enough styling that they attract different customers. Malibu should also be priced as low as $21k for a base model. Even if they attract some of the same customers, the midsize car market is so big, does it really matter? It will likely get even bigger as people move away from SUVs and large sedans but don't want to move all the way down to a compact vehicle.

There is no Pontiac Epsilon AFAIK.

I was thinking about this, and there's no evidence that the vehicle is getting dumbed down. That may be the case in the end, but I am actually wondering if it's just going to be an MCE of the Insignia, or something of the effect, especially on the interior. Insignia will be dated by the time the NG Aura arrives, anyways.

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You know it's a darn shame that Lutz didn't take the time to give the recently departed Pontiac GTO and the current Pontiac G8 it's own unique sheetmetal. I might have not been so opposed to those cars if they had taken the time to differentiate the cars and not just make another rebadge of a current model.

I hope they make the new Saturn Aura's sheetmetal as unique as possible, and take the time to do it right.

Edited by Pontiac Custom-S

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Guest aatbloke
You know it's a darn shame that Lutz didn't take the time to give the recently departed Pontiac GTO and the current Pontiac G8 it's own unique sheet metal. I might have not been so opposed to those cars if they had taken the time to differentiate the cars and not just make another rebadge of a current model.

Most ordinary punters would never know unless they spend copious amounts of time in Australasia or the Far East.

The purpose is to save development money on making a who raft of different unique vehicles of similar size by utilising global resources. It's been a commonplace practice with many mainstream manufacturers for decades who offer different brands globally, and GM themselves have pulled it off successfully enough before (the T-Car and J-Car both spring to mind). The G8 certainly looks the most credible product in the Pontiac stable for a very long time, and a far cry from the hideous, over-designed plastic-clad offerings from just a few short years ago.

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Guest aatbloke
Well they are going to dumb the car down because the bean counters and accountants got a hold of it

I think you need to understand that a car manufacturer is, above all else, a business.

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Noone but us car dorks know this Saturn Aura is an Opel elsewhere.

I suspect GM's trying to recoup its investment in the current gen Aura, shift resources elsewhere, and then intro the Insignia/Aura EpII down the road. Remember, GM was predicting 100k+/yr. Aura sales that haven't materialized...

As for Ep overlap--it's still going to be a problem. Buick, Saturn, Pontiac & Saab all have or will have Ep/EpII cars on the market at similar price points--for the next few years---taking 500k+ in sales potential and taking 5 times the marketing budget of a Camry or Accord to do it.

It's hard to win a war being fought on this many fronts...

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You know it's a darn shame that Lutz didn't take the time to give the recently departed Pontiac GTO and the current Pontiac G8 it's own unique sheetmetal. I might have not been so opposed to those cars if they had taken the time to differentiate the cars and not just make another rebadge of a current model.

I hope they make the new Saturn Aura's sheetmetal as unique as possible, and take the time to do it right.

Thing is, unless you're a car guy, or spend lots of time in other countries where teh Holdens were sold, you'd never know it was a badge job, which is what made it so good. Relatively inexpensive yet unique vehicle for the market. The GTO's styling may have left something to be desired, but not the G8.

This is why the Aura doesn't need to be changed from the Insignia, because no one besides the mentioned people will ever know. It's just wasting money that could be better spent elsewhere, IMHO.

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Ok, first of all Saturn no longer has dent resistant door panels. 2nd the Buick Epsilon should compete with the ES, that is not Saturn's territory. The current 9-3 starts at close to $30k, again not Saturn's territory except for the upper end, plus Saab is a niche brand and the 9-3 is going to be the size of a Cruze, and the 9-5 starts at $38k. No Saturn sedan should cost that much, ever. If the Insignia/Aura is priced at Passat levels ($24k to $33k or so, forget the VR6), it should not overlap too much with the Buick Epsilon, which should start at $31k if comparably equipped to a base ES ($34k). Aura and Malibu should have different enough styling that they attract different customers. Malibu should also be priced as low as $21k for a base model. Even if they attract some of the same customers, the midsize car market is so big, does it really matter? It will likely get even bigger as people move away from SUVs and large sedans but don't want to move all the way down to a compact vehicle.

There is no Pontiac Epsilon AFAIK.

I was thinking about this, and there's no evidence that the vehicle is getting dumbed down. That may be the case in the end, but I am actually wondering if it's just going to be an MCE of the Insignia, or something of the effect, especially on the interior. Insignia will be dated by the time the NG Aura arrives, anyways.

The Pontiac G6 is Epsilon. Saturn made all those adds with shopping carts hitting the car doors, they created that image of cheap car with dent resistant doors, and a lot of people still remember that.

If the Buick Epsilon is $31k that will overlap with the Lucerne. Toyota can build a car for less than GM, so a $31k Buick will have to cut back on things that a $34k Lexus has. Most Aura's sold now are XE models, if people aren't willing to spend $25k on the XR model, a $24-33k Aura probably won't sell. The politics and in-fighting between brands is the real problem, there are too many midsize sedans at the same price point, so they have to design the car to not offend other GM brands, rather than to beat Toyota or Honda.

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The politics and in-fighting between brands is the real problem, there are too many midsize sedans at the same price point, so they have to design the car to not offend other GM brands, rather than to beat Toyota or Honda.

Hence the age-old problem that GM has refused to address.

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The politics and in-fighting between brands is the real problem, there are too many midsize sedans at the same price point, so they have to design the car to not offend other GM brands, rather than to beat Toyota or Honda.

I'm not sure how much in-fighting is going on. Saturn only has 31 employees. Most of these are probably below the intra-brand fighting level we all refer to.

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easy fix for the G8 model line sales......

same v6 and tranny engine combos as the upcoming camaro.

tune it for a bit better mpg than the camaro if possible.

current v6 powertrain needs refinement as the 5 speed sucks. 300hp di and 6 speeds will make the G8 AWESOME. then the press won't dwell on the cliche of v8 fuel suckers.

G8 is one of the most beautiful cars available. They need to get the powertrains right for the times. fixing the v6 will do the trick because not everyone will pay the $$$$ for the v8.

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The Pontiac G6 is Epsilon. Saturn made all those adds with shopping carts hitting the car doors, they created that image of cheap car with dent resistant doors, and a lot of people still remember that.

If Saturn gave the Inisignia dent resistant doors, maybe I'd consider buying one!

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If Saturn gave the Inisignia dent resistant doors, maybe I'd consider buying one!

Just remember dent resistant doesn't mean scratch resistant. :AH-HA_wink:

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the part that is a nice little capsule example of typical GM. the insignia is a beautiful car inside and out, has cutting edge powertrains and stuff, and the f-ckheads in detroit see/saw no urgency or need in having this product in north america. they see no clue how the insignia if joe customer could in november say, walk into a saturn showroom and have that car available to cross shop vs. a camry or accord, they have no clue how that would help.

cost, f-ck cost. if they can't figure out how to bring a design and feature set like this to north america for a competitive price, on time, and properly marketed, then they all should be cast out on their f-cking asses looking for new work like half the rest of the outsourced USA.

same goes for chinese park avenue, astra with an armrest and mp3 jack and decent motor and maybe a sedan or wagon, g8 with more v6 gusto and a 6 speed, STS with chinese interior, g8 wagon, corsa, beat, hybrids, new flagship caddies, trunk space on a kappa, on and on and on.

Edited by regfootball

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The Pontiac G6 is Epsilon. Saturn made all those adds with shopping carts hitting the car doors, they created that image of cheap car with dent resistant doors, and a lot of people still remember that.

If the Buick Epsilon is $31k that will overlap with the Lucerne. Toyota can build a car for less than GM, so a $31k Buick will have to cut back on things that a $34k Lexus has. Most Aura's sold now are XE models, if people aren't willing to spend $25k on the XR model, a $24-33k Aura probably won't sell. The politics and in-fighting between brands is the real problem, there are too many midsize sedans at the same price point, so they have to design the car to not offend other GM brands, rather than to beat Toyota or Honda.

The G6 will be terribly outdated by 2010, I feel. It's not going to be able to compete with the other vehicles by then, anyways.

I don't think the $31k Buick will have to cut back on much... the CTS is $34k and Sigma is a much more expensive platform than EPII.

As for overlapping with Lucerne, the Lucerne is going to be rather old and it appeals to a different group of buyers, anyways. The "classic" Buick buyers buy Lucernes, the LaCrosse needs to attract import buyers.

As for a $24-33k Aura, you may be right, it may not sell. Perhaps this is why it is on hold, because GM realizes this and is trying to decide what to do about it. Perhaps Saturn will go back to selling just small cars and have a lineup something like this: Sky, Astra, Corsa, Vue, MPV.

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The G6 will be terribly outdated by 2010, I feel. It's not going to be able to compete with the other vehicles by then, anyways.

I don't think the $31k Buick will have to cut back on much... the CTS is $34k and Sigma is a much more expensive platform than EPII.

As for overlapping with Lucerne, the Lucerne is going to be rather old and it appeals to a different group of buyers, anyways. The "classic" Buick buyers buy Lucernes, the LaCrosse needs to attract import buyers.

The G6 being totally outdated by 2010 (it is now) is exactly my point why GM has too many brands/models. If they can't afford to update all these models they need to cut back on the number they have, so that every car gets the effort put into the Malibu.

If the LaCrosse is going to steal import buyers it has to be better than the imports. Lexus owners are pretty satisfied with what they have (as are the Toyota buyers that will trade up to Lexus). The only way to get those people is to build a car that is so good they can't refuse it. Only about 1% of trade-ins on the Malibu are Camrys, it is a challenge to get import drivers back.

About the 3.6 V6, it lacks refinement. I've driven the Aura XR, SRX and CTS and the engine is loud and whiny, only in the CTS (it had DI) did it seem okay, but I could tell the car had a lot of sound deadening. Tuning the engine isn't what will get better mileage, they need to cut weight. Make the car lighter, the engine will burn less gas, and a 3.0 DI could replace the current 3.6 and save gas. Aside from the Corvette, every GM product needs about a 5% drop in weight.

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What happened to Saturn = Opel, and Aura = Insignia?
It was just another PCS 'fact'... LOL

Maybe Chevy got concerned that the Insignia looked too good relative the Malibu and told Saturn to tone it down..

Too MUCH LIKE the Malibu...

*** I'm willing to bet that it might be too close to the Invicta, since it is essentially the same car. Too bad GM is just now realizing this. :rolleyes:

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM

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Why don't we give the Insignia to Pontiac?!?!

:)

It'd make a fine G6 replacement and the 'different sheetmetal' story could be better justified and GM *might* actually get a ROI on that.

Saturn could focus on developing small car sales, premium OR hippie/greenie/anti-GM and then Opel and Holden could both prop up Pontiac for now.

Maybe the Beat isn't coming because Saturn is getting small cars...

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM

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Just remember dent resistant doesn't mean scratch resistant. :AH-HA_wink:

Actually, they do resist scratches quite well. Simple logic - is it easier to scratch something that's stiff, or something that flexes away from the hard object trying to scratch it? It's not scratch-proof, but they do hold up well - better than sheet metal. Heck, the worst looking panels on old saturns are usually the hood, roof, and trunk lid... which are metal. ;)

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Why don't we give the Insignia to Pontiac?!?!

:)

It'd make a fine G6 replacement and the 'different sheetmetal' story could be better justified and GM *might* actually get a ROI on that.

Saturn could focus on developing small car sales, premium OR hippie/greenie/anti-GM and then Opel and Holden could both prop up Pontiac for now.

Maybe the Beat isn't coming because Saturn is getting small cars...

I like the Insignia as Pontiac idea...the Beat situation is stupid, if only because the NY Auto show Beat intro basically invited Americans to vote for their favorite concept of the trio (Trax, Groove & Beat).

The Corsa should be a Saturn--the Outlook was a dumb diversion...

Saturn will return to its roots at some point. Or die.

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Saturn will return to its roots at some point. Or die.

If returning to its roots meant US built reliable, sporty, affordable cars with dent resistant body panels, I'd go back to buying Saturns! If it means rebadged European Opels, then no thanks.

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With the technology we have, I'm sure Saturn could figure out a way to tighten the panel gaps caused by the dent resistant material

Or make them less noticable, probably both. I think they overdid the gaps to be safe, so with more study they could reduce the gaps. Plus, all the points where the panels meet are perpendicular to the surface of the overall body panel. If the meeting points were angled, then the gaps would be less noticeable.

How they made them:

panel I I panel

I I

_______I I_______

how they could make them:

panel / / panel

/ /

____/ /______

Since the sides of the panels are also painted, instead of seeing a black void at the gap, you would see the same color shaded. This would help reduce the appearance of the gaps.

There would have to be very strong demand for the polymer panels, and/or a decision to apply them across a wide number of models for them to return, though. A big part of them being discontinued was that it tied Saturn products to one production facility, and hindered flexibility of GM's manufacturing resources. I'd love to see them return too, but I'm not holding my breath that we'll see it anytime soon.

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Honestly, I don't think the panel gaps were that bad. I mean, if I look at an old S Series, L Series, etc. it's not like the first thing I think is, "Oh my God, look at those panel gaps!" I'm sure most people wouldn't even notice, and have no idea the body panels are plastic.

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so whats the point in restyling a vehicle that gm doesnt sell in this region?

why give it new sheetmetal?

i dont even know what the insignia looks like, im just saying... ship it over here and sell it... quit with the it'll be here in 3 years additude.

put a damn rocket emblem and call it done with

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I still think that it's a shame that this car will be diluted to fit in with Saturn's brand image and price restrictions. It will end up being a mainstream alternative to the Malibu instead of something that might truly attract new buyers to GM. After all this time, it looks like GM is still content to waste valuable marketing dollars targeting three brands (Chevy, Pontiac, and Saturn) at the affordable, mainstream portion of the market. When are they going to realize that this strategy doesn't increase their market share or attract new customers to the corporation?

I still think that GM could establish Opel as a brand that would appeal to people who normally wouldn't go near a domestic product. Opel doesn't have the market baggage that Saturn or Pontiac have in the U.S. auto market. If GM would build the next generation of Opel products in the U.S. pretty much unaltered from their Euro counterparts (starting with the Insignia), badge them as Opels, and focus the division's marketing on the Euro origins/styling/engineering/driving dynamics of the brand (while downplaying GM's connection/involvement with the brand), then I think they would actually have a chance of attracting new customers and gaining back some market share. I think this move would be much more lucrative to GM in the long term than to continue to give Pontiac "twin-nostrilized", rebadged Chevy clone products or stumble along attempting to move Saturn upmarket into Oldsmobile's place when the brand has become synonymous with "cheap and cheerful" transportation.

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saturday i was car shopping and went to a saturn dealer. it was very busy. i went to the chevy store across the street right after that and the salespeople were all sitting on their ass, there was no one there.

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I like the Insignia as Pontiac idea...the Beat situation is stupid, if only because the NY Auto show Beat intro basically invited Americans to vote for their favorite concept of the trio (Trax, Groove & Beat).

The Corsa should be a Saturn--the Outlook was a dumb diversion...

Saturn will return to its roots at some point. Or die.

Apparently the Groove will come to the US, but as a subcompact related to the next Aveo, not a minicompact like the Spark and Beat.

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This would be a great car for GM but toning it down isn't. GM needs to have the guts to introduce this car exactly like the European one except having Saturn badges. Plus the interior is nicer than the Malibu's.

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Honestly, I don't think the panel gaps were that bad. I mean, if I look at an old S Series, L Series, etc. it's not like the first thing I think is, "Oh my God, look at those panel gaps!" I'm sure most people wouldn't even notice, and have no idea the body panels are plastic.

I would like to add that my 5er has no panel gap issues. :P

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A real waste of R&D money. Bring the Insignia over to the North American market intact as an Opel and sell it through Saturn dealers as that brand is phased out and replaced with Opel. Opel can also later be sold through Pontiac-GMC dealers if the Buick brand is sold alongside Cadillac and Saab.

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You know it's a darn shame that Lutz didn't take the time to give the recently departed Pontiac GTO and the current Pontiac G8 it's own unique sheetmetal. I might have not been so opposed to those cars if they had taken the time to differentiate the cars and not just make another rebadge of a current model.

I hope they make the new Saturn Aura's sheetmetal as unique as possible, and take the time to do it right.

Why?

Some people don't understand where badge engineering is bad and where it is acceptable.

If GM has a great car overseas from a brand that doesn't exist in North America, I don't care if they just slap a North American badge on it and sell it/build it here as is. There is no problem with that. Only a tiny percent of people (car nuts and people that spend huge amounts of time overseas) will know that its a badge job, and its the cheapest way to get a foreign GM here without drastically changing the car ($$$$) or importing the whole brand/marketing/dealers (even more $$$$). Thats why I have no problem with the Astra, GTO, G8, and the Insignia if it ever comes here.

The problem with badge engineering is when they take a car that is sold here under one brand, make minor changes to the grille and back end, and sell it under a different brand in the same market. That just reeks of cost cutting, examples being the current Equinox/Torrent, the old Cavalier/Sunfire, Cobalt/G5, and dozens of other cars from the 80s and 90s.

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Whistler, I agree with everything you've said.

Also, on another note, I don't think people understand, and I mean really understand why GM doesn't bring the Opel brand here. Opel is a premium brand. Europeans are willing to spend more money on premium brands. They don't look so much as to the size of the vehicle for the money, but rather the quality of the vehicle they are buying, and whether it fits their needs or not.

For GM to sell the Insignia here (intact and unchanged) either under the Saturn brand or the Opel brand, they would be selling it for way more than what they intend to sell the Aura successor for, in the first place.

I urge you all to look at any of Opel's sites and see what the Astra is selling for in Euro currency, along with the Antara and Insignia, then convert to U.S currency (plus or minus a few thou to factor in delivery charges, and various things like that) and see if they would be as low priced as the current Saturn lineup.

According to Opel Ireland (I went there because I can read the site), the regular Antara sells for 40,000 Euros. That translates to roughly $59,000 U.S. but for the heck of it, let's say even $50,000 since they assemble it in Mexico. Compare that to how much we pay for the Vue.

Likewise, the Opel Astra "sport hatch" (AKA the Saturn Astra 3 door) retails for a starting price of 23,250 Euro, which would convert to 34,305. Compare that to the Astra that we get (even though it's currently imported from Belgium). As for this vehicle, everyone all across the Internet were stating that if GM brought the Astra stateside intact, unchanged, etc., that they would buy it in a heartbeat. Well, the time has come and gone, but not too many put their money where their mouths were. Just blatant talk.

On to the Insignia, do you all honestly think that if GM-NA brought over the Insignia the way it is over there, that it would sell like hotcakes? LOL. Good looks aside, I'm sorry but we as North Americans don't realize quality. We worship our pocketbooks way too much. For the roughly 85% of Americans and Canadians living in the mediocre payscale, we wouldn't even consider the Insignia, because we would look for a car with similar features for less money.

Look at how everyone bitched about the new Vue because a few thousand more than the original Vues were priced. The brand went upscale and everyone freaked out. The Aura is an upscale product but there were a few drawbacks. Of course there were. We, as North Americans won't pay for a premium product the way Europeans do. So GMNA did what they had to, to offer a car within our reasonable budgets, that offered MOST of what the Vectra did in Europe. Just like what they're going to do with the Aura's replacement. Dumb it down to make it affordable, so that we have a car we are willing to pay for, and they offer us a car they can make a decent buck off of. GM doesn't want to stay in the red forever.

You all have to understand that we don't think like Europeans. They like smaller, more premium cars, and if they want it that bad, they have no trouble paying for it. We like big, flashy cars. We want V8's, superchargers, 20" rims, soft-touch interiors, sculpted exteriors, fully-loaded, all the bells-and-whistles, etc. without actually wanting to pay for it.

So you can all bitch and complain all you want, we'll never be considered the same type of consumer as the europeans are, and therefore we won't necessarily get what they do, at least not for our pricepoint.

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Whistler, I agree with everything you've said.

Also, on another note, I don't think people understand, and I mean really understand why GM doesn't bring the Opel brand here. Opel is a premium brand. Europeans are willing to spend more money on premium brands. They don't look so much as to the size of the vehicle for the money, but rather the quality of the vehicle they are buying, and whether it fits their needs or not.

For GM to sell the Insignia here (intact and unchanged) either under the Saturn brand or the Opel brand, they would be selling it for way more than what they intend to sell the Aura successor for, in the first place.

I urge you all to look at any of Opel's sites and see what the Astra is selling for in Euro currency, along with the Antara and Insignia, then convert to U.S currency (plus or minus a few thou to factor in delivery charges, and various things like that) and see if they would be as low priced as the current Saturn lineup.

According to Opel Ireland (I went there because I can read the site), the regular Antara sells for 40,000 Euros. That translates to roughly $59,000 U.S. but for the heck of it, let's say even $50,000 since they assemble it in Mexico. Compare that to how much we pay for the Vue.

Likewise, the Opel Astra "sport hatch" (AKA the Saturn Astra 3 door) retails for a starting price of 23,250 Euro, which would convert to 34,305. Compare that to the Astra that we get (even though it's currently imported from Belgium). As for this vehicle, everyone all across the Internet were stating that if GM brought the Astra stateside intact, unchanged, etc., that they would buy it in a heartbeat. Well, the time has come and gone, but not too many put their money where their mouths were. Just blatant talk.

On to the Insignia, do you all honestly think that if GM-NA brought over the Insignia the way it is over there, that it would sell like hotcakes? LOL. Good looks aside, I'm sorry but we as North Americans don't realize quality. We worship our pocketbooks way too much. For the roughly 85% of Americans and Canadians living in the mediocre payscale, we wouldn't even consider the Insignia, because we would look for a car with similar features for less money.

Look at how everyone bitched about the new Vue because a few thousand more than the original Vues were priced. The brand went upscale and everyone freaked out. The Aura is an upscale product but there were a few drawbacks. Of course there were. We, as North Americans won't pay for a premium product the way Europeans do. So GMNA did what they had to, to offer a car within our reasonable budgets, that offered MOST of what the Vectra did in Europe. Just like what they're going to do with the Aura's replacement. Dumb it down to make it affordable, so that we have a car we are willing to pay for, and they offer us a car they can make a decent buck off of. GM doesn't want to stay in the red forever.

You all have to understand that we don't think like Europeans. They like smaller, more premium cars, and if they want it that bad, they have no trouble paying for it. We like big, flashy cars. We want V8's, superchargers, 20" rims, soft-touch interiors, sculpted exteriors, fully-loaded, all the bells-and-whistles, etc. without actually wanting to pay for it.

So you can all bitch and complain all you want, we'll never be considered the same type of consumer as the europeans are, and therefore we won't necessarily get what they do, at least not for our pricepoint.

Actually, GM did us a favor by not making the current Aura look exactly like the Vectra. The Vectra was one hideous looking sedan. In fact, it closely resembled the '04-'07 Chevy Malibu. North America actually came out ahead on that deal. That was the old Opel. The new Opel now has the stunningly beautiful Insignia midsize sedan and wagon that we will never see over here. GM claims that they are altering the sheetmetal and interior to transform the car into the next gen Aura. How I interpret this statement is that the next gen Aura will essentially be a reimagined next gen Malibu with Opel styling cues on the LWB Epsilon II platform. Exactly how does that align Saturn with Opel or the Aura with the Insignia? It doesn't. It aligns Saturn with Chevy. So you have GM covering the same affordable portion of the market with 2 brands (actually 3 if you include Pontiac) while some of its competitors are efficiently and effectively doing it with one. What a waste of money! No wonder GM's financial state is in critical condition.

I don't exactly agree with your statement about Americans. Not all of us think we have to have a land yacht with ghetto sized wheels and an overpowered gas guzzling engine under the hood. There are some of us that appreciate and purchase tasteful, well executed smaller cars. We are the demographic that GM has consistently failed to appeal to and a partial (but small) reason they have lost some market share. Opel's upcoming products could help the corporation attract some of these customers, but it won't be through the Saturn division. The public equates Saturn with quirky and affordable transportation because that was what the division has been since the beginning of its existence. GM will never be able to fully remove or transform this image no matter how hard it tries (which hasn't been too hard in my opinion; the brand's cheap looking advertising really doesn't indicate that anything has drastically changed with the brand). That is the main reason why most of the brand's new products haven't exactly met the corporation's sales expectations (especially the Astra, which happens to have compound problems). Customers are experiencing a huge degree of sticker shock when they enter Saturn showrooms or visit the brand's website because the new products are substantially higher than the customers' expectations (or past products). I think this has actually served to repel some people because they refuse to pay a higher price "for a Saturn" (which still represents "budgetmobile" in their minds), no matter how much improved the new products may be. Attempting to recast Saturn this way was a huge miscalculation on GM's part, magnified by haphazard product planning and poorly developed marketing and advertising. I'm not sure what direction GM should consider taking Saturn. It seems wasteful and ridiculous keeping it as a stand alone division. GM could more effectively cover the affordable portion of the market by redirecting the resources it wastes on Saturn into making Chevrolet the strongest mainstream division on the market. At this point, I seriously think Saturn should be discontinued when the current generation Sky, Aura, Vue, and Outlook reach the end of their model cycles. The only problem would be what to do with the division's stand alone dealerships.

I had originally suggested that the next generation of Opel products (beginning with the Insignia) should be sold under the Opel name in the U.S. I now agree with the opponents of this plan who correctly suggest that GM doesn't have the resources to launch a new division in North America just to carry these products. I now think that these products could be utilized to transform, redefine, and reinvigorate the Pontiac and GMC divisions. To do this, GM must streamline and reconfigure their divisions. First step would be to sell Saab and Hummer; GM needs to concentrate on its core divisions and could seriously use the revenue that would be generated by selling these two divisions. The next step would be to combine Buick with Cadillac to form the luxury dealer network with Buick focusing on FWD luxury cars and crossovers and Cadillac focusing on well executed, world class RWD luxury cars. This would leave the door open for GM to set up Pontiac/GMC as a sporty, midmarket dealer network. The Insignia and next generation Corsa/Tigra/Astra would join the next gen G8/Solstice to make up Pontiac's sporty car lineup. The next generaton Meriva/Zafira/Antara would join the Terrain and Acadia to make up GMC's new lineup of MPVs and crossovers (Chevy would become the corporation's sole truck/SUV division). I think the sportier and somewhat premium perception of Pontiac and GMC aligns better with the sleek and sophisticated styling of Opel's future products much better than Saturn. Better yet, Pontiac and GMC would no longer have to resort to selling rebadged Chevy clone products that seriously damage and dilute their brand images. The addition of rebadged Opel products could help restore the brands' rightful place and purpose as a moderately premium bridge between the Chevy and Buick/Cadillac dealer networks.

I do agree that some alterations would have to be done to the Opel products before they could be sold as Pontiac or GMC vehicles (besides names, badging, and grilles). Like you said, premium customers are not quite the same on both sides of the Atlantic. There would have to be some decontenting done to lower the price (a point that you helped me realize by revealing the actual conversion prices of unaltered Opel products). The prices of the products will have to split the difference between Chevrolet and Buick/Cadillac. GM needs to be careful that the decontenting process doesn't result in the products leaving a cheap impression. GM also needs to ensure that the products have the power and amenities to justify their premium status and prices to U.S. buyers. The biggest problem with the current Astra is that it is underpowered and suffers from a lack of minor amenities and some bizarre ergonomics (as well as the lack of a sedan version). Since this car is priced higher than its more mainstream Cobalt/G5 counterparts, it should at least have the same level of power. GM also needs to ensure that the next gen car has some of the interior appointments and features missing from the current Astra (front center armrest, front cupholders, auxillary media inputs, satellite radio compatibility, etc.). If GM can correct these oversights on the next generation of Opel products, then they should be successful additions to the future lineups of Pontiac/GMC. Unlike what GM has done with Saturn, I don't believe drastic sheetmetal or interior alterations would be necessary to successfully transform Opel products into Pontiac/GMC vehicles.

The final issue that I would like to note is that the products need to be built in North America to avoid the unfavorable exchange rate problem that has also affected the sales success of the current Astra in the U.S.

Overall, you presented a lot of info and insight in your post that has helped me reevaluate some of my views concerning this issue.

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Perhaps I was mistaken by speaking of Americans as a whole, because I know that definitely not all Americans want big boat cars with raw V8 power. Obviously that's not true, but I do feel that a larger portion of the country crave more power and size when considering a vehicle, rather than anything else. Obviously there is no statistical data on that, but when you have states like Texas, where people will actually mock you for owning anything but a full size truck or SUV, it adds to the stigma.

It's true, however, that Europeans love their small cars, especially hatchbacks, and coupes. They also, in general, appreciate premium quality. I have relatives in Italy who were astounded to find out that I own the North American version of the Opel Antara. They didn't realize I had such a good job. I laughed at that, because I don't have the greatest paying job. Good certainly, but not great. When I told them how much the base Vue starts at, they were pretty shocked.

Anyways I'm rambling on here, but just saying that if we had the same mentality as the Europeans do about what's important, we wouldn't, as a continent, be in so much debt to own the things we can't normally afford. Until recently with the sticker shock of gas prices along with the onset of a recession in the U.S., we went for bigger cars and trucks than we needed. Only a small portion of Canada and an even smaller one of the U.S. appreciated compact and sub-compact cars as primary vehicles.

In terms of the Saturn brand, I also have to disagree. I am a three-time Saturn owner. The previous two I owned, were the "cheaper look-and-feel" kind that no one on this board ever seemed to have cared for. I appreciated what they were at the time, which was cheap, reliable, good looking econoboxes. They were different from the norm, and they got great gas mileage. With my '98 SC1 (bought in '01), I rivaled by buddy's '02 diesel Jetta in terms of mileage per tank. Obviously he beat me in terms of total mileage, but I was within 110 kms range per tank from him. I got anywhere between 640-670 kms per tank with that car. Anyways, I knew about Saturn going premium since the rumours swirled since I am a self-proclaimed Saturn loyalist. I can tell you that without a doubt, if Saturn's marketing for the Aura (for example) were as good as that of the new Malibu, you'd see a ton more auras on the road. This holds true for all of Saturn's lineup. Having a ton of online-ads on yahoo doesn't make for truly effective marketing, more like pathetic marketing dollars at work. The other problem with Saturn is not the sticker shock at all, it's the dealer network availability.

In the U.S., Saturn retailers are spread out across the country, making them more "inconvenient" to get to. In my area in Southern Ontario, Canada, we have 4 retailers within 30 minutes of my area. Saturns are quite popular around here. You can, just as easily go to a Saturn facility as you would a chevy one. This makes a huge difference. So I say that if GM had more Saturn retailers, I would bet dollars to doughnuts, that they would sell alot better than they do right now.

Edited by saturnd00d

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