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WHAT CAR STARTED THE DEATH OF SATURN?

79 posts in this topic

I will go with Ion. Vue had built some momentum for Saturn as a more than one model car. I think the Ion destroyed whatever GM had because it was so needed for the Ion to be a homerun and it was a big let down in a huge way. Then the Aura as good as it was could not overcome the damage Ion did to the brand.

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+1 It's the ION.

For nearly 10 years, Saturn sold nothing but the S-series - it was their most important vehicle, and they really blew it with its replacement. Then Saturn went on to divert their resources to other niche vehicles, like minivans, 15-mpg SUVs, and rebadged Chevy sedans.

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I think that crappy L-series did nothing to help them. I'll go with L-series as the Beginning of the End.
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The 2nd generation S-cars. When all they did was a facelift instead of keeping the cars ahead of the competition, they sealed Saturn's fate. Second place goes to the Relay, first Saturn without polymer panels.

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I agree on the Ion. The L-series was too unknown to do damage and it was a new segment that Saturn hadn't been in before. So the Ion not being a home run is what started it, Following up with a sudden shift to trying to bring Saturn up market with the Astra, Aura, Sky, and second gen Vue just confused customer who really just wanted another S-car. The Crossover sport vans were just an abomination in and brand.

The LS, especially in later years doesn't deserve the reputation it has. For a generic family sedan, it isn't bad.... and for DOHC humpers, there was narry a pushrod in sight.

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It had to have been the Ion. What an ugly little car, with a crude interior. I was worried when GM said the Cobalt will be based on the same platform as the Ion, thankfully it was a whole lot better looking. The L-Series did nothing for them either with all the troubles they had, factor in a Relay and Outlook and Sky they never belonged getting and an over-priced Astra we have a failure. Thank God Saturn went instead of Pontiac, my belief was it was going to be one of the two. If Pontiac had gone and Saturn would have stayed I prolly wouldn't be buying a new GM car again.

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I really wish Cadillac had gotten the upper Kappa instead of Saturn. I would have deposit money on that one.

I wish the G6 had gotten the Aura interior and a refresh instead of Saturn getting the Aura.

I wish the Astra had come over to replace the Vibe and was available in more body styles.

I wish the Relay and Montana had never been born and instead the money had been spent on a better Uplander and Terazza.

I wish the new-Vue had been the new Buick Off-Roadmaster.

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The 2nd generation S-cars. When all they did was a facelift instead of keeping the cars ahead of the competition, they sealed Saturn's fate. Second place goes to the Relay, first Saturn without polymer panels.

I agree with the 2nd generation Saturn S-Series. I was in the market for a new car at the time and decided to give the then newly introduced 2nd gen Saturn SL a test drive. It seemed very crude and uncompetitive compared to some of the car's competitors that I test drove the very same day. I ended up buying a competitor's product instead. GM spent billions launching this brand to counter the Asian imports, but they didn't do much after that to ensure that the brand stayed current and competitive. It was a very expensive yet ultimately halfhearted attempt by GM to regain lost market share and customers. I still think GM would have been better off by simply making drastic improvements within their existing divisional structure; they should have tried "thinking outside" of their existing box instead of creating a troublesome new box that they weren't able to maintain or sustain. Creating a new division with its own accompanying dedicated factory and dealership body isn't required to engineer/design/build class leading products and improve/overhaul customer service.

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QUOTE (Satty @ Mar 5 2009, 04:04 AM)

The 2nd generation S-cars. When all they did was a facelift instead of keeping the cars ahead of the competition, they sealed Saturn's fate. Second place goes to the Relay, first Saturn without polymer panels.

I agree with the 2nd generation Saturn S-Series. I was in the market for a new car at the time and decided to give the then newly introduced 2nd gen Saturn SL a test drive. It seemed very crude and uncompetitive compared to some of the car's competitors that I test drove the very same day. I ended up buying a competitor's product instead. GM spent billions launching this brand to counter the Asian imports, but they didn't do much after that to ensure that the brand stayed current and competitive. It was a very expensive yet ultimately halfhearted attempt by GM to regain lost market share and customers. I still think GM would have been better off by simply making drastic improvements within their existing divisional structure; they should have tried "thinking outside" of their existing box instead of creating a troublesome new box that they weren't able to maintain or sustain. Creating a new division with its own accompanying dedicated factory and dealership body isn't required to engineer/design/build class leading products and improve/overhaul customer service.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

I totally agree with both these post. At this point just sell it off or close it down, GM should have just focused on their core brands instead of thinking they had to build a whole new box.

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I would say mainly the Ion, because when it was introduced it was so bad that it is to this day regarded as the worst car to be sold in the states in recent history.

Runner up goes to the Relay, for not only being badge engineered (a sign of things to come) but the first Saturn to not have polymer panels, thereby loosing the only thing that made Saturn special.

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I really wish Cadillac had gotten the upper Kappa instead of Saturn. I would have deposit money on that one.

I wish the G6 had gotten the Aura interior and a refresh instead of Saturn getting the Aura.

I wish the Astra had come over to replace the Vibe and was available in more body styles.

I wish the Relay and Montana had never been born and instead the money had been spent on a better Uplander and Terazza.

I wish the new-Vue had been the new Buick Off-Roadmaster.

I agree with the Kappa Cadillac. Maybe a Kappa based Cadillac product would have helped the platform return a profit. Producing 2 relatively affordable products on such a limited platform was a misguided idea and a waste of the platform. The Sky should have been the Solstice (since Pontiac should have been aligned with Opel in the first place) and then a luxury version should have been developed for Cadillac.

I agree that the Aura would have made a more appropriate midsize sedan for Pontiac than the current G6.

The current Astra line probably would have been more successful in the U.S. if:

1) The car would have been included in GMNA's small car plans at the beginning of the car's design/engineering cycle. The resulting car line would then have been equipped with the goods to make it successful in North America. It would have also been assigned to a North American production facility to avoid the negative effects of exchange rates on the car's MSRP.

2) The car would have been available in a sedan configuration as well as the 3-door/5-door hatchbacks.

3) The car line would have been assigned to Pontiac, which has a larger dealership base and a sportier image than Saturn. Saturn would have then been aligned with the NUMMI arrangement and reduced back to a compact 3 vehicle lineup (sedan, coupe, and tall wagon).

Since GM has never really made an impact on the minivan segment, they should have either just abandoned the segment entirely (which they have) or teamed up with another automaker with a successful minivan product to produce one just for Chevrolet (Saturn, Pontiac, and Buick should not be involved in the minivan segment). GM just never seemed to have a knack for producing a successful "in house" minivan.

The current Vue would have made a great addition to Buick's or GMC's lineup. A Nummi produced Vibe-like tall wagon could have replaced the 1st gen Vue.

Of course, creating a Saturn division or a Geo sub-brand wasn't necessary in the first place. If GM would have made plans to transform Oldsmobile into their import fighter, then a NUMMI produced compact car could have served as a first step effort in implementing that transformation (especially since the rebadged Cavalier/Sunbird based Firenza just didn't seem to cut it, naturally). The billions of dollars GM has wasted on launching Saturn, discontinuing Oldsmobile, attempting to transform Saturn, and now spinning off Saturn could have been better spent elsewhere (and that doesn't mean acquiring Saab or Hummer either).

Edited by cire
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I'll vote tie between the L-Series and Ion. The L was an underwhelming car, and then proved to have issues on top of that (electronics, 3.0L engine issues). Where it should have been a product to move Saturn into more than just the small car market, something Saturn needed to move toward possibly being profitable (better margins), it was essentially a failure. But where the L-Series seemed to add insult to the injury of the long-in-the-tooth S-Series, the Ion added both insult and injury on top of both. While the drivetrain was solid, and the quadcoupe design a unique plus, the styling and interior turned off a lot of people, as did the drop in fuel economy compared to the S-Series. The result was sales that were a fraction of the S-Series.

So while the L-Series failed to help Saturn when it really needed it, the Ion caused a real blow to Saturn's core product - small cars. I'll call it a tie.

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The Ion started it... What really sealed the deal though, IMO is when GM added the Aura and Sky Outlook instead of introducing the Ashtray (Astra) first.

The buyer goes to Saturn for small cars, right? Why not ease the shock by introducing a small car that carries the new "mission" first. Not to mention, the Astra was kind of outdated by the time it got here. Instead though, we have the brilliance at GM having a showroom that houses a $5 Ion, a 30K crossover, a sports car with more sex appeal than even most BMWs and a midsize that looks the part, but really might not have been.

I brought this point up a few years ago... GM needs to redefine all of it's divisions (one at a time) all at once, much like Nissan did with their renaissance. You can't introduce one model, wait 3 years and replace a woefully outdated model, then introduce another model as the first model is now becoming outdated. The consumer doesn't have the attention span for that.

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I agree with the 2nd generation Saturn S-Series. I was in the market for a new car at the time and decided to give the then newly introduced 2nd gen Saturn SL a test drive. It seemed very crude and uncompetitive compared to some of the car's competitors that I test drove the very same day. I ended up buying a competitor's product instead. GM spent billions launching this brand to counter the Asian imports, but they didn't do much after that to ensure that the brand stayed current and competitive. It was a very expensive yet ultimately halfhearted attempt by GM to regain lost market share and customers. I still think GM would have been better off by simply making drastic improvements within their existing divisional structure; they should have tried "thinking outside" of their existing box instead of creating a troublesome new box that they weren't able to maintain or sustain. Creating a new division with its own accompanying dedicated factory and dealership body isn't required to engineer/design/build class leading products and improve/overhaul customer service.

You don't beat the imports by trying to disguise yourself as an import. You beat the imports by providing superior domestic product.

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I do not think it was any particular product, but the lack of proper goal and business plan and then even more convoluted and lackadaisical future plans and goals.

Saturn started as a headless chicken with a neuron working to keep it alive, and then the final neuron got cut off when the last restructuring took place.

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I do not think it was any particular product, but the lack of proper goal and business plan and then even more convoluted and lackadaisical future plans and goals.

Saturn started as a headless chicken with a neuron working to keep it alive, and then the final neuron got cut off when the last restructuring took place.

It wasn't a Neuron, it was the moron Roger B. Smith ... :explode:

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The first one ... :smilewide:

Doomed from the moment of conception.

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Saturn did reasonably well at first, it wasn't until they took forever to update the products, and add new products, that things went downhill. That said, GM probably would've been better off if the original Saturns were Chevrolets and the atrocious Cavaliers of the 90's had never been allowed to terrorize society.

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I think that crappy L-series did nothing to help them. I'll go with L-series as the Beginning of the End.

good point. that was a half hearted effort that missed the mark.

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LOL...i forgot about the RELAY!!!!!

OMG that hastened the death spiral.

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Saturn as a concept was flawed from the beginning. Why would GM create an import fighting brand with a unique working relationship with the UAW when they should have been employed that basic strategy across the entire company. Instead they wasted billions in the process and have nothing to show for it.

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