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I agree, this does look like one last big push for Saturn. However, I see reason for optimism just from the Sky roadster. I think it looks great! The interior looks like nothing ever seen in a Saturn before. The exterior has a lot of flare, especially in the low $20’s price point. Unlike the MR2, its flair works well, and makes it an aggressive looking roadster.

If the Aura sedan looks good too, and has an equally impressive interior (its likely to be similar to the G6 and Malibu which have good interiors) I cannot imagine Saturn sales not going up. The future SUV will help a lot too.

I'll admit, I have advocated killing Saturn right along. Now I am not sure that would have been a smart move. GM seems to be on the right track with Saturn, and appears as if they can still keep it a little different than the rest of their standard divisions too. Time will tell if the buying public agrees.
 

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I still don't see why they couldn't still kill off Saturn (or Saab, for that matter) and bring in a US domestic Opel brand to be marketed in the vacant Saturn/Saab dealer outlets.

Opel then could span the downmarket luxury (BMW wannabees), hi-end small cars, and things that need to fit into a "Euroflavor" brand.

I think both the Sky and Aura fit the bill nicely as an Opel, from a styling standpoint.
 

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solsticeman said:
I still don't see why they couldn't still kill off Saturn (or Saab, for that matter) and bring in a US domestic Opel brand to be marketed in the vacant Saturn/Saab dealer outlets.

Opel then could span the downmarket luxury (BMW wannabees), hi-end small cars, and things that need to fit into a "Euroflavor" brand.

I think both the Sky and Aura fit the bill nicely as an Opel, from a styling standpoint.
I don't think Opel is regarded as any great brand here either. I think SAAB has more cache than Opel. We had Opels here once, nobody cared. Might as well stick with a brand people recognise and try to raise it up. Outside of car enthusiasts, most people in America have never heard of Opel. Opel's not that big of a deal in Europe either. They're kind of like Fords and Chevy's here. I drove both a Corsa and Rekord in my travels over there and they were nice enough and served me well, but nothing to write home to Mom about.

I guess my point is that Opel doesn't have very good brand recognition here and people aren't going to buy them just because they are made in Germany. Remember Ford's Merkur brand? It tried to be a BMW competitor but failed because a German Ford is really no big deal, and neither is an Opel. I think if you're refering to rebadging American made cars as European, you would have much more success with the SAAB brand than Opel.
 

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I suppose the Saturn brand has some positives and minuses, and GM figures the positives are worth trying to breath life into it. I can understand it too.

The negatives are basically that people think Saturns are small, plastic everyman's cars made basically as appliiance style transportation for a low price. So making them premium and charging more is a challenge.

On the other hand, there are a couple positives. The dealer network is a big one. People love the dealer experience at Saturn compared to other GM dealerships. Saturn also draws in more import buyers than other brands, and is considered by import owners before any other GM divisions. They are starting to lose this aspect, but it can be ressurrected. Finally, Saturns always fair well on quality and reliability surveys, so they have a reputation of being decently put together, unlike the mass of GM's lineup. Ion is killing this rep too, but again its not too late to save it. Finally, they top GM in brand loyalty, and lose most owners for lack of a better/bigger car to step into.

The divison has a premium car dealer experiance and reputation, and maybe that is GM's thinking. If they truly give it good product (and they have to make good on that promise) Saturn may come back in a big way. All those loyal Saturn owners over the last 15 years may flock to some really nice, new, bigger Saturns if they deliver on being truly nice vehicles.

As for Saab, it has a premium reputation and like Saturn lacks appropriate products. The problem with Saab is that it is seen as a quirky brand, and Saab loyalists throw a hemmorage fit whenever GM tries to change something. That gives all the new vehicles a bad reputation before they even hit lots. If Saab no longer has its Swedish quirks, is it really Saab anymore? If its not Saab anymore, what is it? Thats the problem. If its a full out luxury line, it infringes on Cadillac, if its a lower level premium, its stepping on Buick and possibly a future Saturn.

Saab has to remain a niche player, and GM should concentrate on that. Since they are not, they will manage to destroy the brand. I think they got what they wanted out of it anyway, the turbo engine expertise of their engineers.
 
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