As Saturn begins to move up market, GM is sticking with the strategy to give it a more European influence. The first major European influence will come when GM replaces the Ion with an imported model, a rebadged Opel Astra (Opel is seen as Saturn’s European counterpart).
The 2008 Saturn Astra will go on sale at the end of the year with a price tag around $16,000. GM also wants to assemble the next-generation Astra at its Lordstown, Ohio plant for a 2009 or 2010 model year.
Saturn is putting a lot of its hope in the new Saturn Aura. Executives are hoping that the new hybrid variant helps boost sales as well as creative marketing that allows consumers to test the Aura, Camry and Accord side-by-side. No changes are planned until 2010, where the redesigned Saturn Aura will us GM’s re-engineered Epsilon2 front-wheel-drive platform. The car will also get longer and wider.
Unlike the Pontiac Solstice, which will get a coupe variant in 2009, the Saturn Sky will stick to a two-passenger roadster. The Saturn Sky will see a major redesign and will be re-engineered in the 2011 model year.
The Saturn Vue just received a new design and the Outlook will get a new redesign along with the GMC Acadia in 2010.