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Old 03-06-2006, 09:04 AM   #1
igor
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Saturn is dead

After, much fanfare about making Saturn nicely European with Opel inspired models, Autonews.com repots on the dark side of the deal - Saturn just lost decisive power over its lineup. It seems that while they will have "input" in the early stages of development, the final decisions will all be made by GM and Opel, and Saturn will eithger have rebeadges of US GM vehicles (such as the upcoming crossover) or Opel vehicles, none unique. Oh and as Always somehow Lutz and Wagoner are proud of this development.

read more:
SOURCE: http://autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ar.../1003&refsect=

Quote:
GENEVA -- Saturn's future looks a lot like the present-day status of General Motors' British subsidiary, Vauxhall.

Vauxhall slaps its badge on cars created by GM's German subsidiary, Adam Opel AG. That's what Saturn will do, at least in the heart of its car lineup, GM executives said in interviews at the Geneva auto show.

The move is meant to bring European design flair and sporty handling to Saturn. But it's also a sign of GM's move to strip regional and brand executives of authority to modify global decisions in engineering, design and manufacturing.

Saturns still will be built in North America, not Europe. GM executives aren't talking about importing and rebadging vehicles produced at Opel plants overseas, but rather making the identical cars in the United States.

But brand bosses would lose some control. Robert Lutz, GM vice chairman and head of global product development, said that in much of its lineup, "Saturn will be like Vauxhall."

He added: "Now Opel cars will be done for three brands instead of two."

Not 100%

The changes will play out in the heart of the car lineup, with the next Saturn Ion subcompact likely to be a rebadged Opel Astra. Carl-Peter Forster, president of General Motors Europe, said the 2007 Saturn Aura, which replaces the defunct L series mid-sized car in Saturn's lineup, is "clearly Opel-inspired."

The Aura shares the Epsilon mid-sized car platform with the Opel Vectra. GM Europe's design studio in Ruesselsheim, Germany, influenced the styling.

But GM CEO Rick Wagoner said the Opelization of Saturn is not total. The Saturn lineup also will include vehicles exclusive to North America, he said.

One example is the coming Saturn Outlook crossover, built on the Lambda architecture in Lansing, Mich.

Vauxhall derivative

When working with Opel, Saturn officials will participate in initial product planning, Lutz said. But they won't be able to dictate changes.

"Saturn would be involved early on, but I would say they're definitely the junior partner in the relationship," Lutz said.

"The Opel product is good. Does Saturn wish they had an Opel Astra (compact car) instead of a Saturn Ion?"

You bet, Lutz contends.

Lajdziak: 'We feel very good'

Jill Lajdziak, general manager of the Saturn brand, said Saturn and Opel will work together as partners and will make sure products will work in both regions.

"Obviously we feel very good about our relationship with Opel," Lajdziak said. "It's a good example of leveraging GM's global capabilities."

As for replacing the Ion with Opel's Astra, Lajdziak said that Saturn is looking at several alternatives for the Ion, but she declined to discuss those options.

No to regionalism

Lutz clearly has little patience for what he called "the ugly head of regionalism" that results in changes to vehicle designs coming in from another region.

He cited U.S. engineers' decision to soften the ride of the Opel Astra when creating two platform mates, the U.S.-built Pontiac G6 and Chevrolet Malibu. The result, Lutz said, was additional work and inferior vehicle handling.

"Part of it is job protection; part of it is the old regionalism coming through that 'we have our own standards in the United States, and we're not going to pick up what the Europeans do,' " Lutz said.

"We are going to be watching this like a hawk. Nothing gets changed unless it absolutely has to."

The benefit, Lutz said, is in cutting component costs and product development costs. If it can enforce its plan, GM can save as much as 40 percent on engineering costs of new vehicles.

Said Lutz: "This is the advantage of it being my budget and not a regional budget."

Leslie J. Allen contributed to this report

You may e-mail Dave Guilford at dguilford@crain.com
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END

Igor


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Old 03-06-2006, 09:10 AM   #2
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I think this one sentence pretty much describes GM's entire business model and badge engineering stupidity...

"Nothing gets changed unless it absolutely has to."
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Old 03-06-2006, 09:20 AM   #3
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if this means america will get an astra vxr, thats fine with me. and i truly beleive if they left the vauxhall monaro vxr front on the new gto, it wouldve sold sooo much better.

but yes, im dissapointed with gms lack of originality in their cars, theyre writing their own world death certificate
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Old 03-06-2006, 09:39 AM   #4
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When you're already on your deathbed...

And I sure wouldn't cry any tears over the loss of the Saturn ION!
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Old 03-06-2006, 04:34 PM   #5
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^^^well thats the thing, the ion was not going to be made anymore once the aura made it to production, which actually looks prety hope. Now wait, whats actually happening and when. Is saturn just totaly being killed off here in america or is it just getting another name. B/c i really really like the sky, and was thinking about it for my next car, so is it still going to be around or get killled. Its very unfortunate b/c saturn looked like it was going to make a comeback b/c their new design was definitly on the right track.

Ok now after reading it i think i get it, so its not really too bad of news, for saturn it is but for us consumers its not, b/c well be getting some Opel over here which is awesome.....mid engine opel speedsters anyone
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Old 03-06-2006, 04:46 PM   #6
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The whole idea behind Saturn when they rolled the first ones out was the fact that it was a different kind of car. I guess GM's gonna make 'em eat their words....
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Old 03-06-2006, 05:05 PM   #7
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"Saturn would be involved early on, but I would say they're definitely the junior partner in the relationship," Lutz said.

Regardless of the Ion, what this amounts to is "Shut up and take what we give you" coming from corporate to Saturn. The whole original point of Saturn as a seperate division was to free it from corporate and all the bs that goes with it.

In addition, it was decided a couple of years ago by the same corporate that GM was losing brand identification by over-use of rebadging, and this brings us more.... rebadging! And then they act excited about it? No wonder they have problems...

If they want to bring Opel over, that's OK by me, but rather than screwing another chrome badge on 'em why don't they just call 'em Opel?
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Old 03-06-2006, 05:10 PM   #8
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I mean it is a good idea to bring over Opels they are good cars, but saturn was too valuable of a brand to just kill it like this..

Starun vehicles will be hot... they wil not be quite on the level of Ford of Europe or VW, but they will be better than Chevy or Pontiac..

It is just a sad sight to see the identity of Saturn be erased by the GM machine.

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Old 03-06-2006, 05:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Carrera26
When you're already on your deathbed...

And I sure wouldn't cry any tears over the loss of the Saturn ION!
yeah, the ION isn't a loss, but like igor said, it's sad to see them get taken over like that
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Old 03-06-2006, 05:16 PM   #10
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It can't get any worse for Saturn. The current Saturn ION is the biggest piece of poo in the market right now. The only two cars I can think of off the top of my head worse would be the Chevy Cavalier and the Chevy Aveo.

Saturn has been irrelevant for some time now. Their little cute no haggle sales gimmick isn't bringing in sales. And for the first time they've had to offer factory cash back incentives to get people to buy their cars because they are utter crap.

igor you say Saturn is a valuable brand? Explain that to me. Sales have been sucking for many years now, along with their product. How exactly are the valuable if no one is buying them?
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