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Do It, Saturn!

January 28, 2005

Saturns suck.  They are plastic-clad, bland, unreliable pieces of crap.  About all they have going for them is that they are cheap and, well, you can run a grocery cart into one.

If you’ve read any of the press surrounding Saturn lately, however, you know that General Motors is working to change that.  How?  By…get this…giving Saturn good, attractive products. 

Now I’ll admit, when I first heard about the plans to take Saturn upscale, I laughed.  My immediate question was "why?".  General Motors already has a gazillion brands.  Can they not handle the "slightly more upscale than mainstream" market with Pontiac, Buick, and GMC?

But then Saturn showed up to the Detroit Auto Show, and all was revealed.  Basically, GM is supplying the brand with cars that it sells in Europe under the Opel and Vauxhall names.  The beautiful SATURN AURA sedan, for example, is a gussied up Opel Vectra.  The SATURN SKY roadster is another Opel/Vauxhall, the Speedster.

This is a good thing.  The latest Opel/Vauxhall vehicles are well-designed and actually appealing (unlike so many of GM’s products).  And, as I’m sure GM is well aware, it is much cheaper to import the Euro designs than to develop entirely new models.  Which means we can expect more Opel/Vauxhalls to arrive stateside in Saturn guise.

Here’s one that I think will be a smash hit.  In Europe, it’s known as the Astra VXR.  It’s a compact hatchback with an absurd 240 horsepower.  Obviously, there are some tamer versions of the Astra, but the VXR is the halo configuration.

Astravxr

Given the reception the Aura received, I think it’s a foregone conclusion that GM will be giving Saturn a version of the Astra to replace the compact Ion.  The VXR would likely become the Red Line version of that replacement.  Red Line, if you don’t know, is Saturn’s "performance badge".

Bring it on, I say.  I’d rather see that Astra running around than the atrocious Ion.

Saturnionredline

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Shin0bi permalink
    April 4, 2006 10:28 pm

    I’m all about your car blog,

    and I tend to agree with you

    in most aspects, but this one

    I’m afraid I must contest.

    Saturns, in my humble opinion, do not suck. At least not ALL

    models. I happily drive a 2001 SC2 which I adore and I cant really say I have any

    problems with it. Its

    reasonably reliable, good on gas, and because its so light, its a pretty quick and nimble ride as well. And what isn’t to love about the polymer pannels. I’ve been hit by many idiots in the past and the worst damage sustained is paint chips.

    Granted, some models are

    especially hideous looking

    (The Ion sedan comes to mind

    immediately) and none of the

    cars, spare the Ion Redline

    and Vue Redline, are

    particularly fast…
    But as a daily driver, I cant

    really complain too much

    about my car. And it looks

    pretty nice too being a third

    generation sport coupe.

    Now in regards to Saturn moving upmarket, I’m all for it! And it would be nice for the “black sheep” of the GM family to start improving not only its own rep, but the rep for GM itself. We’ll see! (Some might say its finally earning its keep)

    By the way, there’s a Turbocharged “Redline” Sky in the works. Its power to weight ratio is 11.0 lbs/hp… this is better than a few models from porsche! And the new line of Saturns is regretably without the polymer pannels. It will certainly be an interesting new turn for the company and only time will tell how Saturn does long term.

    Keep on posting, it gives me something to read while at work!!

  2. alex permalink
    January 15, 2007 9:23 pm

    hi my friend.

    I think you have not really ride an opel/gm car.

    When astra arrives to US you will be excited with its uncomparable driving.

    Here in Mexico we have Opel corsa, Opel Zafira, Opel Meriva, Opel Astra, opel Vectra turbo, all sold as chevrolet, and i have rided all of this beautiful cars and they gives you mor than you expected.

    i have one, so i have tried it and i know what i am talking about.

    Greetings from Monterrey Mexico
    Nice website.

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