This is Not Your Father’s Saturn

11 Dec

The bailout plans show that GM will be focusing on brands that don’t include Saturn, so there is lots of expectation and consternation that GM might kill off Saturn. So much so that a grassroots movement has sprung up to save the brand.

It would cost GM $3 million per dealership to kill Saturn off – just when its cars were getting interesting, too. So, I propose this. A makeover and name change for Saturn that would preserve its current stable of cars and eliminate one GM brand by simply incorporating another, existing one.

West-Herr Opel? Opel of Clarence? Why the hell not. This new sedan – the Opel Insignia, which is the next Saturn Aura – kicks serious ass:

And the “sports tourer” station wagon looks a lot like the Audi Q7 from the rear:

That sort of interior and exterior design enables GM to compete with the best that Japan, Korea, or Europe have to offer. Killing off Saturn as a brand may make sense – not building cars like this Stateside doesn’t.

15 Responses to “This is Not Your Father’s Saturn”

  1. Mike Miller December 12, 2008 at 6:54 am #

    As you know Alan, you and I agree about our love for Opels. It’s so frustrating that we get the dreck from GM and Ford and the Europeans get the good stuff. Unfortunately, the small, “hot” European cars like the Saturn Astra and the Volvo C30 aren’t selling very well.

  2. Paul December 12, 2008 at 8:45 am #

    There’s no doubt that Opel and its twin brother Vauxhall in the UK are wonderful cars, but I don’t think the Opel name would sell their product any better than the Saturn name. Europeans are willing to pay a premium price for small premium cars. In America its a lot tougher. VW, Nissan, Toyota and Honda even created new brands in the US to sell their cars, i.e. Audi, Infinity, Lexus, and Acura. I’m old enough to rememember when Opel was sold through Buick dealers and the Opel Kadett was horrific. So bad that Car and Driver’s scathing road test caused GM to cancel advertising in that magazine. By the the time the wonderful Manta came out in the early 70’s, the Japanese were already entenching themselves in the US. GM’s response was to rebadge mediocre Isuzus with the Opel name and allow the Opel name in the US to die a slow death. Perhaps selling them through Saab would help, a name that has some European prestige here.
    Its a shame. When I travel abroad and see the terrific Ford Mondeo and Focus and the Opel Vectra and even the Toyota Avensis. Compare them to Fusions, G6s and our Focus.
    However we do get unbelievable bargains on cars. A BMW 330 costs $40,000 here, it costs $40,000 Euros over there. No where in the world are cars cheaper than the US.

  3. WNYPMH December 12, 2008 at 11:17 am #

    What’s ridiculous is that we are having a conversation about Saturns in 2008 when they haven’t been profitable since their inception in 1985ish. Why would you hold a division for 23 years that wasn’t profitable.

    Sadly, I am on my 4th Saturn and have always had good luck and like them alot. It is hard for me to believe that they couldn’t make that line profitable.

    Poor management….off with their metaphorical heads.

  4. hank December 12, 2008 at 11:48 am #

    Re-Name: Tennessee Chevrolet.

  5. BuffaloBloviator December 12, 2008 at 1:06 pm #

    Bring back my favorite. The Opel GT. It ran on the equivalent of a weed-whacker engine and it looked like a mini Corvette. I think they made them in the late 1960’s.

  6. Dan December 12, 2008 at 3:26 pm #

    A somewhat related question: how well is Holden doing in Australia? How about Ford of Australia/New Zealand, where they have a product lineup that is still world-class, yet not so alien where they would be shunned by a typical American driver?

  7. mike hudson December 12, 2008 at 3:38 pm #

    the opel gt was the official car of cleveland rock stars in the early 1970s. a fun car to drive, many miles per gallon and looks that could kill. the only rival was volkswagen’s karmann ghia. the mg and triumph tr3 brought up the rear.

  8. Pauldub December 12, 2008 at 4:41 pm #

    Friend of mine had a ghia with a loudspeaker mounted on top. Used it to show his displeasure with other drivers on the road. The mg was a great little car.I would have put it a close second to the GT.

  9. mike hudson December 12, 2008 at 10:47 pm #

    ah, sweet youth. now that i’m officially an old man, i stick with the gm brand europe can’t compete with — the deville is matchless!

  10. mike hudson December 13, 2008 at 11:14 am #

    hey pundit, you ok?

  11. buffalomom December 13, 2008 at 1:04 pm #

    BP – where are you? are you that sick? no postings makes me worry. give us a sign you are alive and hopefully well too!

  12. Buffalopundit December 13, 2008 at 1:41 pm #

    Just out of town with no computer. Everyone’s fine. Thanks!

  13. mike hudson December 14, 2008 at 2:27 am #

    great pic here of obama and gov. blagojevich looking for all the world as though they are locked in deep conversation, plotting out the future course of the world.

  14. Jon Splett December 14, 2008 at 3:47 pm #

    Don’t forget Blaggy’s homeboy Rahm Emanuel who had some chats with the gov about filling the Senate seat…I’m sure it was all on the up and up though because you know, hope and change and all that.

    I love the lack of outrage from the dems on this whole scandal.

    The Democratic party once again reminding us that the lesser of two evils is still evil.

  15. Byron December 14, 2008 at 5:16 pm #

    Lack of outrage? The President-elect, the Illinois Lt. Gov., several Democrats in the Illinois legislature and all 50 Democrats in the U.S. Senate have called on Blagojevich to resign. As far as I know, no Dem has defended him in any way.

    It’s true, though, that no one has whipped a shoe at him.

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