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Blurb from this week's Autoweek...

Solstice promises

Though nine months from market, Pontiac’s Solstice roadster is already strutting its stuff. Solstice program chief Lori Queen says while the Pontiac will be bigger than a Miata but nowhere near as expensive and high-revving as a Honda S2000, Solstice buyers can plan on Miata-beater acceleration right out of the box.

"We do 0 to 60 faster than a Miata," assures Queen. The last Miata AutoWeek tested posted a 7.89-second
0-to-60 time; the MazdaSpeed version in the Aug. 30 issue consistently ran sub-sevens.

Queen won’t confirm reports that the edgy Vauxhall VX Lightning will be the styling model for Saturn’s version of the Solstice. But she did say the Saturn due in fall 2005 will be "more creased" than the Saturn Curve concept unveiled last January in Detroit.
Link: http://www.autoweek.com/news.cms?newsId=100738
 

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Good news all around! The base Miata just is not all that fast, and I would expect Solstice with 170 HP in base form to out accelerate it. I am not sure that the base Solstice will out accelerate the Mazdaspeed Miata, but that Miata isn't going to walk away and hide either. A higher output Solstice should easily handle the Mazdaspeed.

Also good news on the Solstice front. More creases than that bubble, the Sky, is definately a good thing. Even if its not an exact copy of the VX Lightning, maybe this means they are useing a lot of the design elements of that Lightning in the Saturn.
 

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9 months from market? Does that mean the release date is in June '05 or production will begin then? I think I know the answer, I was just getting overly excited!

And is Saturn's Kappa really expected to be available fall '05 as well? Or am I reading the article incorrectly?
 

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I read that to mean it will beat a standard Miata but maybe not a MazdaSpeed version.

But the way I read this, counting on my fingers from September first, this looks like the first report that they will be in the showrooms the first part of JUNE!!! Otherwise they would have said "Though twelve months from market..." I wish it had quoted her as saying that.

Looks like the (what's its name?) Saturn roadster is due the last week of September, almost four months later.
 

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All good news. As to beating a Miata, I'm sure that's true for a base Solstice against a base '04 Miata. The Mazdaspeed Miata seems to be a different story, and who knows how fast the next generation base Miata will be. It's still good news to me though.

It does sound like summer '05! :party But I'm not going to get my hopes up too much based on this artical. I would need a more official press release for that. Does sound like the Saturn X?? will probably borrow heavily from the Lightning. Hope they don't screw it up, the Sky was pretty lame. We'll probably know in January.
 

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Base 04 miata: 7.8 sec 0-60
MazdaSpeed: 6.9? or so 0-60

That means the Solstice should be somewhere around mid-low 7 seconds 0-60. Call it 7.4 seconds. That's not bad - and just about where it should be for the power to weight ratio.

Now, ADD a hundred horsepower!!! Yee HA! 0-60 in sub 6 seconds or so. It sure would be nice if the higher hp version has similar weight but gets the HP in the 265+ range... maybe that's just wishful thinking.
 

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i'm hopeful-sounds like a June release for the solstice and October for the Saturn roadster. that would be a whole summer of top down driving from the start.
if they were to be available in June, when do you think they would start taking orders (with colors-options-prices etc)?
also when would they need to start production? i'd be tempted to take a ride to Delaware-not far from me in Philadelphia- to see the real thing parked outside the factory.
 

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I would expect GM to officially be accepting orders from dealers sometime in the spring, although it could be a little earlier, say Jan-Feb '05 if the Solstice will be in showrooms by June-July.

I expect we will hear more details about when it will be available around the Detroit Auto Show. At that event, I would expect to see a production prototype of the Saturn roadster, and maybe finalized prototype or pre-production Solstice.
 

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cdb said:
i'm hopeful-sounds like a June release for the solstice and October for the Saturn roadster. that would be a whole summer of top down driving from the start.
if they were to be available in June, when do you think they would start taking orders (with colors-options-prices etc)?
also when would they need to start production? i'd be tempted to take a ride to Delaware-not far from me in Philadelphia- to see the real thing parked outside the factory.
I'm sure they'll take orders right after the Detroit autoshow. At that point they should have most all the production details out and people will be amped up by the show and press releases. Even if deliveries don't start until fall, it's still a great time for them to get orders moving. We'll have lots to talk about then!

I would think they would want to test or gauge public reaction to a new Saturn roadster before totally committing to a pre production prototype. The Detroit show will no doubt be the place to reveil such a concept. The only way I can see them having enough confidence to show a pre production prototype at Detroit would be if is pretty much the Lightning. That's a known quantity that has been shown with favorable reaction. Imagine the desaster it could be if they said "here it is, this is what will be available in the fall, our new reworked Saturn Sky!"
 

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gmmerc5 said:
Oh please, don't even mentioned that.
I totally agree on that front!

Time will tell on the Saturn. I think it will be a production prototype, and it will look basically like the Lightning concept. Thats just a guess, but they already know people really liked the Lightning Concept from Detroit this past year, so why not just do it? :thumbs
 

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Fformula88 said:
but they already know people really liked the Lightning Concept from Detroit this past year, so why not just do it? :thumbs
Do you think we need to make sure GM knows that we do prefer the Lightning over the Sky, by all of us sending them an email, I want to do this myself, do any of you know the direct line to the people/department who is in charge of prospects preference, I sent my opinion to Saturn, but they don't have a clue to what the Lightning is. :smile
 

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Fformula88 said:
but they already know people really liked the Lightning Concept from Detroit this past year, so why not just do it? :thumbs
Because they're Saturn, and the Lightning has a good look to it, so they gotta work on it.
 

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gmmerc5 said:
Do you think we need to make sure GM knows that we do prefer the Lightning over the Sky, by all of us sending them an email, I want to do this myself, do any of you know the direct line to the people/department who is in charge of prospects preference, I sent my opinion to Saturn, but they don't have a clue to what the Lightning is. :smile
I would imagine just an email to either Saturn, or GM in general would work. maybe check out the GM website? The Pontiac website has a link (or at least it used to) for product suggestions. I would imagine GM's site and/or Saturns would have a similar link.

You could also send a paper letter right to GM at the Rennaissance Center in Detroit if you felt like it. They probably all go to the same customer service department anyway.
 

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I mean no offense here, but what makes you think GM will listen to you?

I know several people - frustrated engineers - that worked on the Saturn ION program. THEY were trying to expess opinions about all the things on the ION that people with common sense could tell would be problems. Most of it fell, or so I'm told, on deaf management ears. Or worse yet were asked to help find and concentrate on only the things that supported the dumb decisions that were already made (Center gage cluster? Non-body color roof rails? SEATS? Dinky steering wheel with atrocious styling?).

It took getting LAMBASTED in the press and two model years to fix only HALF of the ION issues. And still there is no admission of any failure nor mistakes.

Point is: If GM management won't even listen to their engineers, why will they listen to you?

Instead they tried to find ways to justify dumb decisions (the gage cluster is in the center because "Saturn designers say this is better because the driver doesn't have to worry about the steering wheel blocking his or her view of the instruments and because it's less distracting to scan the instruments by glancing to the right, rather than down. " - GIMME A FREAKIN BREAK HERE!).

Car & Driver, Road&Track, MotorTrend, a bunch of other reviewers, and apparently (lack of sales the main indicator) the public didn't buy it.

I'm told MANY (not "all" - there are some of them that frankly are NOT the best nor smartest engineers...) of the engineers working on the program didn't buy it either. But they (GM management) didn't listen when they could have corrected these blunders three years before start of production, and didn't listen for almost a year after start of production. And that's something simple like gage placement.

Maybe I'm being cynical, here. I'm almost praying that the SatKap comes out close to the VX Lightning. But a part of me thinks they may pull an "ION" and pump out the "NEWLY REDESIGNED..... SATURN SKY!". Complete with the hideous side gash.

Back when it (the SKY) first showed at the 2002 NAIAS, someone next to me said: "if you look at the name in the mirror, it's probably closer to what I think when I see it."

That's when he said "Yikes!" (YKS).

And a part of me, the evil side, kind of hopes they DO come out with a SKY. Then we could put the last nail in the coffin, and get rid of a the neck-hanging-albatross and resource drain on GM. I know, I know - some of you are Saturn fans, and gosh bless you... poor, misguided souls :eek:)

Ok, my rant's off.

I just think that Saturn marketing probably has some student look at the incoming customer e-mails, and just... chuckles as she/he deletes them, eight hours a day, one-by-one. Send in your suggestion that they make the SatKap look like a Lightning. Just don't hold your breath for a "WOW WHAT A GREAT IDEA WE'RE GLAD YOU TOLD US BECAUSE WE WERE GOING TO DO A NEW SKY" response.

Damn! Back up on that soap box again.

If I'm anything, it's passionate about smart, beautiful, efficient vehicle design. The Solstice is this - pure in purpose, fast, maybe a little rough, but the RIGHT UNDERPINNINGS. The VX Lightning is exciting and edgy, in it's own way and can achieve some of the purity of the Solstice.

The SKY, well, embodies the almost exact opposite. An ugly, fantasy car with little appeal. It says "I'm trying to be cute" in a husky, cigarette-smoking-voice kinda way. It doesn't know what the heck it wants to be. I don't know whether to drive it, or stick it in my sock drawer, or wash my hands with it.
 

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solsticeman said:
And a part of me, the evil side, kind of hopes they DO come out with a SKY. Then we could put the last nail in the coffin, and get rid of a the neck-hanging-albatross and resource drain on GM. I know, I know - some of you are Saturn fans, and gosh bless you... poor, misguided souls
There is a place for Saturn in the GM scheme of things, but you're right, they gotta get off the fence, do they want Saturn or not. It started out a big success and since then they seem to have done all they can to kill it. As I recall it started out as an independent group with self management. That was when it was successful.

Management can make or break a car company and change has to come from the top. Designers know what's wrong, engineers know what's wrong, assembly workers know what's wrong, mechanics know what's wrong and sales people know what's wrong. Management seems to live in their own world.

I'll say it again, if the management at Saturn had to go down to a local dealer pick up an Ion off the lot and drive it everyday as their only car, changes would come fast. The best thing any car company could do is mandate a program like this. Imagine, no choice, if you want to run the show, or make big desisions at Saturn, you have to give up your Mercedes, BMW, or Cadillac for an Ion. Free of charge of course. Quality would go up, performance would go up and styling would get better. They would start making cars people want, not focus groups.

I guess I live in my own world too, and Solsticeman is right, unfortunately writing thier PR people won't do any good.
 

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Last bit on Saturn, and I'll be done...
[opinion]
Saturn was successful for one reason - clever, and I daresay, b-b-b-brilliant marketing. I hate to admit it, I really don't like the foo-foo marketing types, but they were pretty successful in this case.

They were able to convince people that Saturn was detached and running independent from GM as a whole (ha!). However, the tools they were given were a terriffic advantage.

The Saturn S-series was not superior in styling, the chassis was revised 1970's Honda Civic (what with the true macpherson strut front and tri-link strut rear), cramped on the inside, and a loud and buzzy engine with seemingly solid engine mounts.

And those dreadful automatic seatbelts!!! AHHHH!

BUT, they took lemons and turned them into lemonade - GM/Saturn Marketing were allowed to place significant limitations on the "customer face", meaning the dealerships. Notice - you NEVER see a Saturn-Mazda or Saturn-Pontiac or Saturn-anything dealership, do you? That's because combined Saturn dealerships are not allowed. Saturn was even allowed to have a different warranty and tracking system. They had control over the content of the dealerships, how service is handled, dealership procedures and training, and even the appearance of the lots and showroom.

If ya do things the same year over year on the outside, expecting people to see you different (Chevy? Pontiac? anyone listening?), ya might not want to expect much. To be seen differently, you have to change the interface of the customer - and that is exactly what Saturn was able to do.

Even today, sixteen years later, we can still hear "different kind of car company" in our heads. Brilliant marketing!

They have Saturn homecomings at Spring Hill that surpasses the attendence of "pilgrimmage to Bowling Green" of 'vette enthusaists. All for a little, buzzy, FWD sh*tbox. Absolutely brilliant.

Imagine, going to a Chevy dealer and get treated like gold. Knowing you probably aren't being ripped off or pressured into buying. I've had the "what's it going to take to get you in this car tonight" asked of me by Ford, Pontiac, Oldsmoble (RIP), Chevy, Cadillac, Buick and Chrysler dealers. I've NEVER been asked the question by a Honda dealer, nor a Saturn dealer.

How many dealerships OFFER you a test drive? Have you ever been offered a test drive in a cavalier, let alone a 'vette? Yet I've been OFFERED a test drive in the Honda S2000, and when/if a Redline ION comes in I'm promised a test drive.

Saturn's success was not in being "separate" from GM. Their success was in being able to "appear separate" from GM - and they had near-perfect followthrough with how they treat customers at the INTERFACE level.

That's why I'm really really interested in how they handle a hot commodity like the SatKap. I'm told "nothing over MSRP", "we have no-haggle pricing". When/if you pit a $21k Solstice with an extra $7500 hot-car dealer donation vs. a $24k SatKap at a no haggle price... the solstice may take a hit below the belt - I might just have to buy one on principle. Such is life when you don't have control over the customer interface. Some of the pontiac dealerships are still in denial - I see fifteen GTO's sitting on the lot, with an extra $1500 of something tacked on to the MSRP - and an unwillingness to budge on price. I say - let 'em rust on the lot.

However, as we are now seeing, even the most brilliant marketing can do nothing for inept program management and dumb decisions. Look at the ION.

Having a new platform with a new market penetration is good. GM and Pontiac NEEDS it. A good, solid product base is essential, but without a dealer revamping, it may fall short of expectations.


Time will tell. This is an interesting time for GM.
[/opinion]
 

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Wow, I thought I was rough on Saturn and GM management, but you guys make me sound complimentary! lol

Really,GM management does listen to public opinion sometimes. Not always. But sometimes. So it may not be a total waste of time to tell them how you feel. Although I do agree, it is probably ot going to do much good in most situations.

The Ion is a failure. It is another examply of how messed up GM's management team was before the arrival of Bob Lutz. Like the Aztec (sorry to our Aztec owners here) the cars design and quirks were mandated by management and marketing execs who wanted something different with no regard for asthetics.

Even with the updating they have done to the Ion, its still basically a lost cause. The reason they gave for keeping the cyclopse dash was that "it made the car unique, and Saturn is about being unique." Whatever. I think they have more accurately given up on the car, and do not want to pour much money into it before the redesign. I bet in no more than 2 model years, you will see Saturn get a new steel sided Delta car that is basically a rebadged Cobalt, as long as Cobalt is successful, and they will dump the Ion styling, cyclopse dash, poor materials, and name to give the replacement a fresh identity. If they were planning on keeping the Ion, they would have done more extensive changes than just some eye candy on the front of the sedan, and liquid filled bushings for the suspension pirated from Cobalt.

Saturn is a drain on GM. They have been giving it a half effort for a long time which simply is not good enough in todays market environment. As a result, the cars do not sell and it steals corporate dollars from other projects that could help the rest of GM's lineup.

The dealership network and agreements are genious for GM. Now if they would only hand over some GOOD cars for them to sell. Hopefully the SatKap will be the start of it, but it cannot be done as a business as usual design.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
solsticeman said:
That's why I'm really really interested in how they handle a hot commodity like the SatKap. I'm told "nothing over MSRP", "we have no-haggle pricing". When/if you pit a $21k Solstice with an extra $7500 hot-car dealer donation vs. a $24k SatKap at a no haggle price... the solstice may take a hit below the belt - I might just have to buy one on principle. Such is life when you don't have control over the customer interface. Some of the pontiac dealerships are still in denial - I see fifteen GTO's sitting on the lot, with an extra $1500 of something tacked on to the MSRP - and an unwillingness to budge on price. I say - let 'em rust on the lot.
[/opinion]
Uuuggg..I just got an ugly picture of many Solstices sitting on Pontiac lots held captive by dealer markups while most of us remain in waiting mode after circling this thing for 2 years. Signed, Depressed.
 
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