Sunday, November 28, 2004
The Detroit News has an article on the new plans for Saturn in the next few years. From the GM message boards I peruse, I've heard they plan for Saturn to essentially be Opel US, and I think that is a great idea. VW has dominated the high quality small car market in this country, with its only competition being the Mini. The GM executive they talk to even states that Saturn will have a "global look", which I'm sure means Opel, since Opels are sold all over the globe.
But there's a problem. GM is showing us a picture of the new Saturn Sky, and it looks like the Opel Speedster in Europe. I don't have a problem with the look, which will probably be great, but doesn't GM have another roadster on the market? It's even mentioned in the article, the Pontiac Solstice. And both will have the same price. Huh?
Ford makes a roadster, it's called the Mazda Miata. Since Ford essentially controls Mazda to the extent that it is almost like another division in the company, but since it's another brand, has Ford decided to release a roadster of its own to compete? Of course not. One vehicle was good enough for the market niche.
Does Saturn need a roadster to fill out their lineup? Well, does VW have a roadster, or a convertible for that matter? Nope. And they're doing better than Saturn, or at least their long term survival seems more assured than Saturns, they didn't really make a profit this year.
GM has great ideas within it, but it also has the same stubborn philosophies that worked decades ago, but no longer do now. Back in the 50s and 60s, when there weren't many car brands, people had to choose between different GM models. Now there are a lot more choices, and two different GM models, means half as many sales for the vehicles.
Times change, and GM should change with it.