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cire

2010 Vauxhall/Opel Astra Teasers Released

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The teasers don't really reveal much, except that it appears that the next gen Astra will probably look sportier than the current model (which looks to be a trend the Opel division began with the Insignia and current Corsa). Why GM can't realize what a good match these next gen products would be for Pontiac is beyond me. The next gen products would have to be decontented somewhat to become Pontiacs (and GM needs to ensure that they're not outpowered by their Chevy platform mates), but not as much as they would need to be to become Saturns. It's time GM paired Opel with a division that has similar brand characteristics: edgy, sporty, and aspirational. The first time Opel was in the States, the brand's products were sold under their own brand name at Buick dealerships (Buick is a great historic GM brand, but not the first place I would consider when looking for small and sporty import cars). Now GM has teamed Opel with Saturn, a brand that began its existence with bland and quirky budget-mobiles. Pontiac has the larger dealership base and brand image (when it's not diluted with rebadged Chevy clones) to effectively and successfully represent Opel in the North American auto market.

Here's a link to the article about the teaser images:

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Edited by cire
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The teasers don't really reveal much, except that it appears that the next gen Astra will probably look sportier than the current model (which looks to be a trend the Opel division began with the Insignia and current Corsa). Why GM can't realize what a good match these next gen products would be for Pontiac is beyond me. The next gen products would have to be decontented somewhat to become Pontiacs (and GM needs to ensure that they're not outpowered by their Chevy platform mates), but not as much as they would need to be to become Saturns. It's time GM paired Opel with a division that has similar brand characteristics: edgy, sporty, and aspirational. The first time Opel was in the States, the brand's products were sold under their own brand name at Buick dealerships (Buick is a great historic GM brand, but not the first place I would consider when looking for small and sporty import cars). Now GM has teamed Opel with Saturn, a brand that began its existence with bland and quirky budget-mobiles. Pontiac has the larger dealership base and brand image (when it's not diluted with rebadged Chevy clones) to effectively and successfully represent Opel in the North American auto market.

Here's a link to the article about the teaser images:

undefined

Because it simply isn't a good match, time will reveal why.

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also, there have been no indications (that I'm aware of) that any Opel product other than the Insignia will be changed for the US market. NG Astra, as far as we know, will be produced in nearly identical configuration in Mexico, which gets around the currency exchange and shipping costs issues that haunt the current gen.

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Because it simply isn't a good match, time will reveal why.

can you tell us why Saturn is a better match? [i'm not asking for the inside info, just logically with evidence we can all understand]

on a separate note, insignia is one of the better looking GM cars we've seen in a while, but it seems Opel's design theme is getting more Japanese, particularly Mazda-influenced, by the minute. alas, it looks great, but I doubt we'd get something as revolutionary for Astra as the sketches portray, perhaps something more conventional is in line.

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can you tell us why Saturn is a better match? [i'm not asking for the inside info, just logically with evidence we can all understand]

Perhaps because there is less historical image with Saturn than Pontiac... easier to mold a new image.

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can you tell us why Saturn is a better match? [i'm not asking for the inside info, just logically with evidence we can all understand]

on a separate note, insignia is one of the better looking GM cars we've seen in a while, but it seems Opel's design theme is getting more Japanese, particularly Mazda-influenced, by the minute. alas, it looks great, but I doubt we'd get something as revolutionary for Astra as the sketches portray, perhaps something more conventional is in line.

For two simple reasons, GM has for all intents and purposes killed Saturn. They have no engineering, marketing, or for that matter their own assembly plant. GM's thinking here is, it can save big money by gutting Saturn and replacing the internals with Opel. Opel does the engineering and production of most of the Saturn lineup by 2014, GM does the marketing.

Secondly, GM is trying to move both Opel and Saturn up market, this takes time and doesn't happen overnight, again GM's goal is to have both brands moved upmarket within a few years, to make room for Chevy's expansive role. After all Chevy is GM's world brand.

Pontiac is a dead brand walking, so you won't see Opel models going there.

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"Perhaps because there is less historical image with Saturn than Pontiac... easier to mold a new image."

I don't exactly agree. Pontiac does have more heritage, but I also think Saturn has an established market image. I think if you ask people about Saturn (other than enthusiasts), most of them will tell you that it's the company that makes those cheap little cars made out of plastic. The division even had a bit of a cult following with gatherings at the Spring Hill, Tennessee factory where the products were assembled (I remember seeing reports about these events on the news back in the '90s). To move Saturn upmarket, GM will need to completely erase this identity and replace it with something more upscale. So far, I think their efforts have been mediocre at best. The division's advertising since the transformation still has a cheap, childish, quirky feel that really doesn't define the new mission or purpose of the brand (I know there was a commercial with a stunned customer at a Saturn dealership, but the commercial still didn't convey much about what has changed at Saturn). If I didn't know better and based my perception of the brand solely on the marketing, I would assume that Saturn is still that quirky company that produces affordable, plastic sided vehicles. GM has given the division a nice lineup that is the antithesis of what the brand has been in the past. Why not emphasize the "New Saturn" with advertising that focuses on the Euro flavor, sophistication, and driving dynamics of the products along with their fuel efficiency (which is almost required in today's market). If GM is going to stay the course and attempt to move Saturn upmarket by aligning it with Opel (which I still disagree with, but that's beside the point), then they need to aggressively market the division's new image in a way that lets the general public know that something has drastically and dramatically changed with the division.

This link represents the direction I think GM should take with Saturn's advertising/marketing:

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It should have a sophisticated, international flavor that better represents the new identity of the brand.

"Pontiac is a dead brand walking, so you won't see Opel models going there."

I guess I will have to sadly accept Pontiac's eventual demise :( as well as the fact that Saturn is here to stay as the North American version of Opel (I'm officially surrendering my position on the topic). I just hope GM realizes that it has a huge task ahead of them in trying to convince the general public that Saturn has moved upmarket and beyond what it was in the past. It's something that the corporation will need to commit to and diligently pursue if they want it to be successful. It requires much more than simply changing the product portfolio. An aggressive marketing campaign that eschews quirkiness for qualities that are indicative of the brand's new direction will be needed for the transformation to be acknowledged, understood, and accepted by the buying public. For the sake of the corporation, I hope this plan is successful for them.

Edited by cire
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