Saturn Sky:

General Motors’ Failures – Kudos for Trying

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General Motors Company (formerly “Corporation”) today is a shadow of its former self.  It sells fewer models through fewer brands since its bankruptcy in 2009.  It is reconstructing itself and building itself into a competitive and profitable car company.  That transformation appears to be going very well.

Over the years, however, General Motors has often tried to be a trailblazer (no pun intended) in new vehicle design and development.  Many of these vehicles failed, but we believe GM deserves a tremendous amount of credit for trying where other companies did not have the creative thought or resources to make a “segment breaking” product.  Here are some examples…


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Saturn Sky Red Line – Corvette Light or Extra-Strength Miata?

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Having me review a 2 seat open top roadster is like having Ed Begley talk about the virtues of an electric vehicle. Objectivity may be a stretch. I’m already a choir member. I just have too many fond memories of riding with my big brother in his Datsun 1600. Cars were invented to have their roofs removed, and their gears selected by the driver. It’s no surprise that I like this vehicle. A lot.
The Look
Talk about a head turner. This vehicle got more attention than grenade in a wedding cake. I probably didn’t hurt that our vehicle was bright red, but I think this vehicle would draw a crowd in any color. I answered more questions from strangers than any other vehicle in recent memory. From geriatrics to kids on skateboards, I received nothing but rave reviews on its exterior styling. My favorite? “It’s a Saturn? But it’s so pretty?”
EDITOR’S NOTE
At first, several of us at AutoPacific were critical of the Saturn Sky. Without driving it, we could critique the substandard interior materials and the truly abysmal cupholder, the lack of storage and on-the-ground sitting position. Appreciating the Sky Red Line is to drive it… hard. Luckily, part ot my commute is through a canyon with dramatic climbs, dips, variously aggressive curves, little traffic even at rush hour. This is where the car really comes into its own. The 260-horsepower provides punch whenever you want it and the wide track shod with sticky tires kept the Sky where you planted it.
On the other hand, Sky’s styling goes into the toilet when the convertible top is up. Also, with the top up, the car is almost impossible to get into or out of. For those of us who are a bit width challenged, a couple of more inches of shoulder room would be nice. But even with these niggling complaints, why doesn’t Sky sell better. Is its success, or lack of success, proof that the market for small 2-seaters is really saturated when Miata, Solstice and Sky are all available at under $25,000.


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GM Ten 2007 – Los Angeles Prelude to the Oscars

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Last night General Motors held a celebrity bash at Paramount Studios’ Soundstage 15. Celebrities were invited to model the latest fashions showcased by General Motors’ new concepts and products. Why would GM do this? GM invites “influentials” from the Los Angeles area to see and be seen at GM Ten. Not a bad idea at all. Gives the company positive exposure. Costs a bundle, but the investment is certainly worth it in terms of positive press.
Here is the GM-produced video feed for the show:


Our reason for going was much more mundane although seeing the celebrities was a highlight. Received a walkaround of the upcoming Cadillac CTS from Cadillac General Manager Jim Taylor. Looks like Cadillac has a winner on its hands to replace last years winner of AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award in its class – Cadillac CTS.

Katherine Heigl – Grey’s Anatomy

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Actress Katherine Heigl, dressed in Dolce & Gabbana, walks the runway with a Chevy Volt Electric Concept at the GM TEN fashion event Tuesday, February 20, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (General Motors Photo)


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Blowing Off the Lot – the Hot Sellers

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Since we have identified the vehicles that have the longest days supply, we have been asked to show which vehicles have the shortest days supply. Which vehicles are so hot they just blow off the dealer’s lot? As with the slower moving vehicles where we arbitrarily cut off the days supply at 150 days, here we are using 50 days as the cut off point. The details are shown “below the fold”


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Is the Sky the Limit? – The 2007 GM Collection

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General Motors hosted a two-day event in sunny Southern California showcasing quite a few of their 2007 makes and models. The event kicked off with a press conference at Saturn of Temecula with the first day’s events focusing on Saturn’s new lineup, followed by a ride and drive down to San Diego. Choices for the drive included the new Saturn Sky, Aura, and Vue. The second day of the event featured a broader spectrum of GM’s lineup ranging from a turbo charged Saab 9-5 to a Mid-Duty GMC Top-Kick towing a boat touting GM’s Vortec engine. With a handful of GM vehicles poised to attack the autocross course or engage in a ‘truck-pull’, at the end of the day the tough part would be deciding which models were the most note worthy.
I was at the event as VehicleVoice contributor and AutoPacific analyst.

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An obvious choice at the top of the list was the Saturn Sky, which breaks from the conservative styling cues typically found on every vehicle bearing the Saturn marque. With its more aggressive lines, pronounced fender peaks and menacing front end the Sky definitely makes a bold statement. Many may liken it to a miniature Corvette or GM’s version of Mazda’s MX-5 (Miata), but not many will call it boring.


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Saturn Hopes Outlook Will Brighten Sales Outlook

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Saturn is Focused on Product
The 2007MY Outlook is an SUV/crossover vehicle that is one of the three new entries for the brand this model year. Clearly, Saturn is a major focus of General Motors’ product development efforts for 2007. The Saturn brand had become stagnant with mediocre products like the Ion, Vue and what was the name of that easily forgotten mid-size car. Even Saturn’s renowned sales experience could not make the brand desirable. Now, new products are on tap to save Saturn.
Though its name was confirmed in late 2005, Saturn’s new crossover was first unveiled at the 2006 New York auto show. Sales begin late in 2006, after a fourth-quarter production start. Buick showed its version as a concept ahead of the Saturn or the GMC Acadia, but the Buick Enclave will be the last to arrive. The Saturn and the GMC arrive for the 2007MY. These are the first examples of General Motors’ new Lambda architecture and promise to be a much needed success.

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With the Outlook and other new products on tap for the brand, Saturn has the opportunity to revive its image with an expanded lineup featuring some, if not all, exciting and aggressively (for Saturn) styled vehicles. Saturn is finally getting the products it needs, expanding its line up by three for the 2007MY with the Outlook, Sky convertible, and Aura sedan. The Sky is already on sale, though the 260HP Red Line version is new at New York. AutoPacific and VehicleVoice correspondents are here in New York to catch the reveal of these new Saturn products in person.
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Saturn Sky Quietly Introduced in Los Angeles

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Spring 2006 Sales for Saturn’s First Convertible
The wait is nearly over. After the 2002 Saturn Sky concept sparked speculation about when and if Saturn would add a convertible and was followed by a concept version only twelve months ago, the production vehicle arrives at showrooms in spring 2006. The concept introduced at the Detroit auto show and the production car on display at the 2006 Los Angeles auto show are nearly identical, though the two-seat, rear-wheel-drive roadster is basically the opposite of the front-wheel-drive 2002 concept.


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