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Oracle of Delphi

GM gives dealers some breathing room on Saturn

36 posts in this topic

Jamie LaReau

Automotive News

January 25, 2009 - 3:11 pm ET

General Motors leaders told Saturn dealers today that funding has been allocated to build Saturn vehicles through 2012 and in some cases 2013. But they stopped short of saying Saturn would get new products and won't be killed.

"We are still working through many options," but Saturn is "not going away in 30 days," said Todd Ingersoll, a Saturn dealer on the Franchise Operations Team who attended a Saturn dealer meeting at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in New Orleans. "That is good to know."

Ingersoll, who owns Saturn stores in Danbury and Watertown, Conn., says GM leaders did not specify if the Saturn products will get new styling or engineering. He said the dealers at the 90-minute meeting were glad just to know "there's something beyond 30 or 40 days from now."

After the meeting, Mark LaNeve, GM's vice president of vehicle sales, service and marketing, told Automotive News: "We have all the current products funded. What we told them was the biggest issue is slimming down our product cadence. We don't have enough finances to fund all these brands."

LaNeve said GM is pushing hard to make a decision on Saturn in February. "We're working all the options," he said. "We'd love to find a way to continue the brand, but there's nothing definitive I can tell you today."

In an interview Saturday, Saturn General Manager Jill Lajdziak said the brand should have clear direction for its future in the next three or four weeks. Part of that will be to figure out how to reduce the brand's structural costs and create a business model that is profitable. In the past 20 years, Saturn has been profitable only one year.

Ingersoll said GM leaders told dealers at the meeting "it has to be a win-win. But from a brand perspective it's important to drive home the point that it doesn't have a 30-day window for when it'll be around, it's extended. They're saying look we've got production and we're ready to go."

Link: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/arti...paign_id=alerts

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I say we keep it.

GM's problem has NEVER been too many brands... GM's problem is a lack of focus for those brands and poor leadership/management.

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Kill it. Its early mission was focused and unique. Now it is no longer special since the assimilation. It has no clear mission now. Edited by ocnblu
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Kill it. Its early mission was focused and unique. Now it is no longer special since the assimilation. It has no clear mission now.

We are only keeping it alive because you want it dead. :neenerneener:

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"We"? hehehehehehehe... ooooo kay....:huh:
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I say we keep it.

GM's problem has NEVER been too many brands... GM's problem is a lack of focus for those brands and poor leadership/management.

I agree. GM needs to follow through with their earlier promises to "tightly focus" it's brands with "gotta have" cars". Anyone else notice they're not pitching around those phrases anymore?

How on earth could a new plan for Saturn cost any less than the one they had for rebadging Opels as Saturns? It doesn't get any more cost effective than that.

I do think Saturn should be small cars though. GM needs another division on the lower end aside from Chevy. I say just rebadge subcompact to compact Opels as Saturns and rebadge the bigger Opels as Buick.

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I agree. GM needs to follow through with their earlier promises to "tightly focus" it's brands with "gotta have" cars". Anyone else notice they're not pitching around those phrases anymore?

How on earth could a new plan for Saturn cost any less than the one they had for rebadging Opels as Saturns? It doesn't get any more cost effective than that.

I do think Saturn should be small cars though. GM needs another division on the lower end aside from Chevy. I say just rebadge subcompact to compact Opels as Saturns and rebadge the bigger Opels as Buick.

Only if GM can figure out how to sell them..

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I do agree that Saturns should return to selling compact cars to retain customers in that market, as they were meant to do in the first place. however I'm not so sure rebadging and continuing to sell Opels here is the clearcut answer.

Rebadging Opels definitely saves on the development front, but the profit from the sale of those cars heavily depends on market conditions such as the cost of the dollar compared to the Euro, and freight costs, VAT factored in, etc.

I say, design and engineer as a joint venture but build North American versions locally, and European versions overseas (like what is done with the Vue). That might help GM pocket some extra coin.

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I say we keep it.

GM's problem has NEVER been too many brands... GM's problem is a lack of focus for those brands and poor leadership/management.

They are not capable of managing 8 brands, haven't been for the past 20-30 years and won't be in the future. Plus how do you differentiate 5 brands that sell the same style vehicle with similar powertrains at similar price points. So number of brands is the problem. They just killed delayed the CTS coupe another year, and killed the XLR because they have no money. The XLR doesn't sell anyway, but all the imports have coupes, Cadillac does not, the CTS coupe could have helped. But they can't build it because they dumped money on Saturn and Lambda crossovers.

There isn't enough money to make all 8 brands (or even 4 brands) competitive. They keep robbing from one brand to pay for another. All GM is doing is trying to manage the downward spiral and slow death. They should dump the Outlook after 09, Astra after 2010, Aura isn't needed after 2010 unless they just do a big fleet dump and Vue and Sky could limp into 2011 if need be and that should be it. Oldsmobile style phase out and good-bye.

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I agree. GM needs to follow through with their earlier promises to "tightly focus" it's brands with "gotta have" cars".

It takes at least $500 million to make one "gotta have" car, in some cases it is over $1 billion. That is just to design the thing, not market it. If they have 8 brands with 5 models each, that is 40 models (they have over 50 actually), so hypothetically that is around $30 billion to make tightly focused, "gotta have" products. GM doesn't have that kind of money. So it is going to be either 50 mediocre cars that don't sell unless at employee pricing plus, or 25 or so "gotta have" products that will sell. GM is facing a quality or quantity decision, I'd rather have quality.

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Saturn built it's reputation cheap, fuel efficient cars with dent resistant panels and excellent dealer experience. Saturn should return to that philosophy or be terminated.

This is another case of GM not knowing what the F to do with it's brands. Had the S-series actually been kept up to date and not allowed to rot, followed by a $h!ty Opel and then more overpriced Opels, it would probably be in much better shape...especially when gas prices were $4.

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Saturn built it's reputation cheap, fuel efficient cars with dent resistant panels and excellent dealer experience. Saturn should return to that philosophy or be terminated.

This is another case of GM not knowing what the F to do with it's brands. Had the S-series actually been kept up to date and not allowed to rot, followed by a $h!ty Opel and then more overpriced Opels, it would probably be in much better shape...especially when gas prices were $4.

You mean the same $h!ty overpriced Opels we are giving to Buick? :smilewide:

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You mean the same $h!ty overpriced Opels we are giving to Buick? :smilewide:

To be fair, I was referring to the $h!ty one being the L series, and overpriced (not $h!ty) being the current lineup.

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Saturn built it's reputation cheap, fuel efficient cars with dent resistant panels and excellent dealer experience. Saturn should return to that philosophy or be terminated.

While I will probably continue to somewhat like/follow Saturn whatever it may be, I agree that this is a good philosophy for Saturn. Killing it is probably better than starving it and changing it's focus every 2 years, resulting in an ever alienating brand that confuses every customer.

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Kill it. Its early mission was focused and unique. Now it is no longer special since the assimilation. It has no clear mission now.

+1-Give me better Chevy's, Buick's, Pontiac's, Cadillac's, GMC's etc.

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Don't kill Saturn, I don't want my Vue to completely tank in value.

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Don't kill Saturn, I don't want my Vue to completely tank in value.

Yeah, I agree about that fact. I really like the OUTLOOK the best of the four Lambdas, but if I buy it and Saturn closes, the resale value will be nothing.

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They are not capable of managing 8 brands, haven't been for the past 20-30 years and won't be in the future. Plus how do you differentiate 5 brands that sell the same style vehicle with similar powertrains at similar price points. So number of brands is the problem. They just killed delayed the CTS coupe another year, and killed the XLR because they have no money. The XLR doesn't sell anyway, but all the imports have coupes, Cadillac does not, the CTS coupe could have helped. But they can't build it because they dumped money on Saturn and Lambda crossovers.

There isn't enough money to make all 8 brands (or even 4 brands) competitive. They keep robbing from one brand to pay for another. All GM is doing is trying to manage the downward spiral and slow death. They should dump the Outlook after 09, Astra after 2010, Aura isn't needed after 2010 unless they just do a big fleet dump and Vue and Sky could limp into 2011 if need be and that should be it. Oldsmobile style phase out and good-bye.

I have been always opposed to killing off more divisions. I always preferred how the POntiacs looked compared to Chevy and in some cases Buick. I would have never bought the Chevy or any other divisions car. But with the latest news coming out and this latest news of the CTS coupe being postponed, the Camaro delay and the possiblity that the Voltec version for Cadillac may not be built, I ahve accepted the notion it is time to kill Saturn, GMC, and even my favorite brand Pontiac. As long as GM builds great looking cars for Chevy and Cadillac, with great looking interiors, great quality and reliablity and depite my earlier stance on not buying anything but Pontiac, I will consider the products. All of this may result in GM losing cutomers like those that fled after Oldsmobile was closed but I would venture to say GM at the time did not have good consistent products in their other divisions for the Oldsmobile faithful to consider instead of moving to imports. The survival of GM at this point in more important then keeping my favorite division. it's clear GM does not have money to launch these new upcoming cars properly and has to postpone their introductions. Hate too say it but it is time to cut the losses and keeping Saturn until 2012 is not worth it. I can't believe I just said all of this.

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I have been always opposed to killing off more divisions. I always preferred how the POntiacs looked compared to Chevy and in some cases Buick. I would have never bought the Chevy or any other divisions car. But with the latest news coming out and this latest news of the CTS coupe being postponed, the Camaro delay and the possiblity that the Voltec version for Cadillac may not be built, I ahve accepted the notion it is time to kill Saturn, GMC, and even my favorite brand Pontiac. As long as GM builds great looking cars for Chevy and Cadillac, with great looking interiors, great quality and reliablity and depite my earlier stance on not buying anything but Pontiac, I will consider the products. All of this may result in GM losing cutomers like those that fled after Oldsmobile was closed but I would venture to say GM at the time did not have good consistent products in their other divisions for the Oldsmobile faithful to consider instead of moving to imports. The survival of GM at this point in more important then keeping my favorite division. it's clear GM does not have money to launch these new upcoming cars properly and has to postpone their introductions. Hate too say it but it is time to cut the losses and keeping Saturn until 2012 is not worth it. I can't believe I just said all of this.

I have an Olds Aurora, and I agree that there was no product at the other GM brands for Olds faithful to go to. The import brands had refinement (DOHC, 5-speeds), nav systems, technology, etc in the 2002-2006 era when GM was still peddling the 3800 and 4-speed auto and even now is reluctant to use LCD touch screens in anything but a Cadillac.

It comes down to spending $750-800 million to design the Malibu, Aura, and G6 combined, then another $250 million to advertise the 3, or spend $1 billion to make the absolute best midsize sedan on the planet and market it like crazy and sell 400,000+ per yer.

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The time has come to kill it off. They have some nice cars in my opinion, but GM couldn't make it work so I think its time to dump it and concentrate on something else. Don't hurt me guys! lol :CG_all:

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The time has come to kill it off. They have some nice cars in my opinion, but GM couldn't make it work so I think its time to dump it and concentrate on something else. Don't hurt me guys! lol :CG_all:

Saturn is not a favorite brand around here trust me. I won't kill you, $h! I agree. :neenerneener:

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I don't think many of us hate Saturn. Personally, I think Saturn has more potential than almost any other GM division.

But, it's about priorities now.

I want Saturn to stay, but not at the expense of Pontiac or Buick.

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I have two Saturn's in the garage so all I can think about when I hear them discussing killing Saturn is the huge hit I'll take in their value. :( Still, GM is not in a place where they can let anything other than financial success determine the fate of a brand. If they feel it may be a detriment to their short term survival, well, it needs to die. They need to do whatever they need to do to survive until things get better. If this is one of those things, I'll support it.

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Maybe the fact that my Vue will take a huge hit if they decide to kill Saturn in the next few months would make a good excuse to just say "screw it" and go trade it in on a new 2009, Black, 6 speed manual G8 GXP? :scratchchin:

Edited by gmcbob
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