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Small little mention of Solstice in Forbes article on Audi TT & 350Z (other 2 seaters discussed).

Here's the part about Solstice...

At the other end of the price spectrum, the success of the 350Z suggests that General Motors is thinking in the right direction with its forthcoming Pontiac Solstice roadster. While the company has not yet announced pricing for that vehicle, expect it to cost closer to $20,000 than $40,000.

In an interview last year, GM Vice Chairman Robert A. Lutz said that he championed the Solstice's development because "the world does not need another $40,000 roadster." Maybe he's right. Maybe it needs more $25,000 roadsters--and more $60,000 roadsters
Here's the link:
http://www.forbes.com/vehicles/2004/11/17/cx_dl_1117show.html
 

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In an interview last year, GM Vice Chairman Robert A. Lutz said that he championed the Solstice's development because "the world does not need another $40,000 roadster."
With that quote in mind, do you think that is positioning for a possible $29995 base for the assumed upscale Saturn roadster? Or do you think that quote was made prior to the decision to make the Saturn? Will it go down with Papa Bush's "Read my lips!" quote?

And isn't the non-convertable 350Z's base still listed just below $30000? It was at its introduction.
 

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The only thing I would reads into that quote is not to expect a baby Cadillac XLR based on Kappa to show up with a $40K sticker anytime soon (or an expensive Buick roadster either).

I would expect the Saturn roadster to be cheaper than $29.9K too. At least as a base price. It would automatically make it Saturn’s most expensive car. I know they want to go a little more upscale with the brand, but they don’t want to over-do it to begin with either. At least from a price perspective. They need to get people into nicer Saturns to spread the word that they are nice. To do that, you cannot scare everyone away with the window sticker.
 

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Or, it's possible they could offer an extra long list of options to statify both ends of the spectrum. Basic rental fleet option package (auto & air, not much more) $25,000..And the possiblity to add $15,000+ in options (Extra bolt on body doodads $2000, Folding hardtop $4000, Bigger engine $1000, Forced induction $2500, Leather $1000, Wheels and tires $1000, HEI headlights $500, Heads up display, $500, Fancy audio package $1000, GFI and Onstar $1000, Heated seats $500..opps, I'm already at $15,000 and that puts it in the "another $40,000 roadster" catagory.
 

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DreamerDave said:
Or, it's possible they could offer an extra long list of options to statify both ends of the spectrum. Basic rental fleet option package (auto & air, not much more) $25,000..And the possiblity to add $15,000+ in options (Extra bolt on body doodads $2000, Folding hardtop $4000, Bigger engine $1000, Forced induction $2500, Leather $1000, Wheels and tires $1000, HEI headlights $500, Heads up display, $500, Fancy audio package $1000, GFI and Onstar $1000, Heated seats $500..opps, I'm already at $15,000 and that puts it in the "another $40,000 roadster" catagory.
I doubt GM would offer a $15K spread in options on the Saturn. That seems a little extreme. By the time it hits $40K it is getting close to Corvette territory. I do not think you are going to convince many buyers a forced induction Saturn roadster is worthy of a Corvette like price tag. If it were worthy of the price, the Chevy people would have a cow, and then kill it anyway. (as they did to the Fiero when they say a Turbo Fiero running around the Milford proving grounds that would blow the doors off their Corvette).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Vita said:
that is true, also, that quote was way before they decided to make the saturn anyway, wasn't it?
Yes that's an old quote well before Saturn's roadster dreams. The quote is more about the need for a lower priced roaster in general.
 

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Fformula88 said:
...(as they did to the Fiero when they say a Turbo Fiero running around the Milford proving grounds that would blow the doors off their Corvette)...
mmmmm.... Memories!!!! That was one heck of a car...
 

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GM, like most auto makers, has a history of packaging their higher performance models. Lots of times, you can't get the better engine without a bunch of stuff you'd rather not have (Bonneville SSEI) or would be ordering anyway (Chevy SS). Adding 50% to the base price with options has been done over and over.

Over at Chrysler it's the same. Think PT Cruiser, stripped drives out at MSRP $14,820 +TTL but get a GTturbo, base starts at $23,455 and can go all the way to $27,305! That's darn close to twice the strippers price. And the convertable's even more!

Would GM market two roadsters, one with a much publicized $20K starting price and another starting a little over $30K? Sure! Add an expensive folding hardtop (something only the $50K SSR has) and keep it under $40K and you could out price Mercedez's SLK and offer something Crossfire doesn't have. Would it compete against Corvette? Less than an SSR does. And even if it did, GM has and will continue to compete with itself because of its overlapping divisions (Camaro vs Firebird, Chevy vs GMC trucks, most all it's SUV's and mini-vans, etc.)

There is a huge hole in GM's 2 seated roadster market between a $25K Solstice and $48K Corvette that I predict they are going to fill with an "up scale" Saturn. But maybe I'm wrong.
 

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You have a point about the potential for a large price spread. However, I still don’t see the Saturn creeping up into the $30K’s in price. Something tells me when they say Saturn is going upscale, similar to where Olds was, they are not talking about making it all that upscale. Just a little nicer than a Chevy. For the most part the Olds were not all that much more expensive unless you got into heavily optioned Auroras and Bravadas. However, the Alero’s were in the price range of the supposedly lower end Grand Ams.

If they do get a Saturn roadster up into the $30K’s. Regardless of how good it is, I don’t think it will be enough to overcome Saturn’s image overnight. Saturn’s image right now is of a company that makes bargain basement cars put together worse than a Korean companies. Resale is abysmal. Materials fit and finish is a disgrace on the Ion, and not good on the Vue. One small volume roadster is not going to make people think Saturn is great. However, Saturn’s image will make people suspicious of the roadster to the point where many will be scared off by a higher than expected price for a Saturn. Maybe an absolutely loaded to the gills Saturn could hit $30K, but the bulk of the roadsters they sell will have to come in under that.

Maybe overlap them with the Solstice. The Solstice could come in priced between $20K and $25K loaded, with the Saturn starting $23K-$24K carrying power options as standard that are extra cost options on the Solstice, and bringing it up to $28K-$30K. Its going to have to offer some options not available on the Solstice to justify the price hike, since fit, finish and structure are all the same. Maybe more engine, nicer interior materials, possible a hard top instead of a soft top.
 

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Fformula88 said:
If they do get a Saturn roadster up into the $30K’s. Regardless of how good it is, I don’t think it will be enough to overcome Saturn’s image overnight. Saturn’s image right now is of a company that makes bargain basement cars put together worse than a Korean companies. Resale is abysmal. Materials fit and finish is a disgrace on the Ion, and not good on the Vue. One small volume roadster is not going to make people think Saturn is great. However, Saturn’s image will make people suspicious of the roadster to the point where many will be scared off by a higher than expected price for a Saturn. Maybe an absolutely loaded to the gills Saturn could hit $30K, but the bulk of the roadsters they sell will have to come in under that.
:agree
That's all very true but you have to start some place. Perceptions of build quality will have make a huge leap. If they sincerely plan on bringing Saturn up market, I hate to say it but improved quality will have to come before better performance.

Traditionally price structure was something like Saturn and Chevy, then Pontiac, then Olds, then Buick, then Cadillac. But now we've got the Pontiac Solstice down at the absolute bottom and a reported wish to position Saturn above its current position which is equal to or lower than Chevy. Unless that price gap is filled with an as yet announced Buick or a reportedly denied Cadillac Kappa, it falls to Saturn. Or, as you said, a "Trans Am" model of the Pontiac Solstice at a very significant price hike. I just hope I'm not shooting myself in the foot by putting these speculations where GM can see them. I plan on owning a forced induction Kappa unless they price it out of my reach($29,000+)
 

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DreamerDave said:
:agree
Traditionally price structure was something like Saturn and Chevy, then Pontiac, then Olds, then Buick, then Cadillac. But now we've got the Pontiac Solstice down at the absolute bottom and a reported wish to position Saturn above its current position which is equal to or lower than Chevy. Unless that price gap is filled with an as yet announced Buick or a reportedly denied Cadillac Kappa, it falls to Saturn. Or, as you said, a "Trans Am" model of the Pontiac Solstice at a very significant price hike. I just hope I'm not shooting myself in the foot by putting these speculations where GM can see them. I plan on owning a forced induction Kappa unless they price it out of my reach($29,000+)
I’ll try to keep this short and to the point. GM wants people to see the brands in a ranked order of how upscale they are, but each brand overlaps other brands enough that it under minds their position.

If Buick is an upscale division, then the latest Century should never have existed. All Centuries have come with the 3100 engine under the hood, and a rather basic list of standard features. Meanwhile, the Grand Prix built off the same platform has offered as many if not more standard features, and has been using the 3800 engine standard for a few years now. The standard Century based on features, engines, etc is at a lower level than platform mate Grand Prix. It hurts Buick’s premium billing if Pontiac’s version of the car appears to be more upscale.

Another good example is Saab, which they definitely want to bill as a premium entry-level luxury brand and Pontiac. Both will have a convertible built off the epsilon platform. The Saab 9-3 ragtop is a nice car, but I think the G6’s convertible hardtop is a more premium feature than a cloth top.

Basically, both of these comparisons show the problems GM is having with selling more premium vehicles. In Buick’s case, a high percentage of their sales are the decidedly non-premium Century. Compared with other similar GM offerings from Pontiac and Chevy, there really is nothing premium about it. Its no better in features, build quality, or materials quality. Therefore, it ruins the brand image of Buick. It would be similar to Mercedes having a top selling model built on the Dodge Stratus platform, and although it had a different appearance and interior, the build quality and materials quality would be similar to the Stratus. People would see through it, and know it was not a premium vehicle regardless of the nameplate.

If GM is going to focus Saturn, or any of its divisions on being upscale, they really have to answer the call in build quality, materials quality, offering added features over more plebian platform mates, etc etc, and they need to keep out low buck versions like Century from dragging a premium division down.

Saturn could be premium, but along with a very nice Kappa roadster then need to forget about the Ion, and go over the Vue with a fine tooth comb to improve its interior a lot.

Sorry for getting long winded again.
 
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