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Saturn Sky Quietly Introduced in Los Angeles

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.

Pricing in the Mid-$20s – Higher Than Pontiac Solstice
Sharing architecture, drivetrain, platform, and assembly space (at GM’s Wilmington, Delaware, facility) with the Pontiac Solstice, it is no wonder the two are similar even down to the same size tire. The two are not identical in the metal or in the interior, though, and the Sky was developed with more mature personality than the Solstice (Solstice will be featured in an upcoming VehicleVoice videocast).
While styling is aggressive and modern for Saturn, it is not as muscular as the Solstice. Sky also comes standard with several features that are optional on the Pontiac. As a result, the Sky carries a higher base price than Solstice. Sky reaches dealer showrooms with a $23,690 base price for the five-speed manual and $24,540 for the automatic.
There is only one standard trim level, including four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, Bilstein monotube shocks, air conditioning, CD stereo with auxiliary jack, remote keyless entry, and power windows, locks, and mirrors on the standard equipment list. This pricing strategy puts the Sky at about the same price point as a mid-grade Mazda Miata, while the Solstice undercuts the Miata by about $1000. Both Solstice and Miata start with stripped down base models that leave air conditioning, ABS, remote keyless entry, and power locks, windows, and mirrors off the list.

A Great Time to Buy a Convertible.
If you’re looking for a two-seat convertible in the $25,000 range, this spring you’ll find a buyer’s market, with the Saturn Sky, Pontiac Solstice, and Mazda MX-5 Miata to choose from. The Saturn is all new for the 2007 model year, but the Pontiac and Mazda are also very fresh. Both were fresh for the 2006 model year and have only been on sale since fall 2005. All three should offer an entertaining drive, modern conveniences, and good fuel economy from their four-cylinder powerplants. Being judicious when reviewing the options box can keep the cost below $24,000, though the Mazda tops out near $28,000 with all the bells and whistles. Later in 2006, Pontiac even adds the 260HP GXP performance model, likely to carry a price tag about $5000 more than the base car.

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