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Saturn Aura



  • ""Cars with flaws won't survive here"

    what about GM and Ford and... yeah Chrysler? "

    Big 3 are more like on the “death row” than prospering in USA. GM and Ford do better overseas than at home. Something is fatally wrong with American management and marketing if they cannot figure out how to handle their own market which is btw is the most important in the world.

    Aura is a good example. It is considered as an upper scale brand now by GM. Similar to VW. And still GM management thinks it is okay to use flimsy shiny plastics in most visible and touchable places. GM made heroic attempt to put decent DOHC V6 engine in midsize car - finally after long consideration. In Europe they did it last 15 years.

    But again Americans do not care about driving dynamics but they do care about interior because it’s a place where you spend many hours every day. Look how passionately people discuss ugly/numb Toyota Camry on these boards (which is pathetic if not comical).

    Less and less people want to be engineers in USA, manufacturing leaving the country and now even marketing sucks. May be outsource marketing to India? How American industry is going to survive? Service only, like IBM now?
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    "But again Americans do not care about driving dynamics but they do care about interior..."

    I would feel better if you would say most Americans.

    But they do care about driving dynamics, they want a nice soft ride. Perhaps we need to design are roads to last longer so they're not so punishing.
  • I've always had hopes for Saturn and GM. In 1986 I worked at Spring Hill for the construction management company overseeing the work as the soil was being excavated down to the limestone base, drilled and shot to form a level pad onto which the plant was built. Saturn was the first GM plant I worked on, and have been in auto plants assisting retooling efforts ever since. That doesn’t make me an expert on autos anymore than standing in a garage makes me a car. But Saturn was my first auto plant.
    I've see the hundreds of millions of dollars it takes to change over an auto plant, usually gutting an existing plant before installing new equipment. The plant production workers were on leave and still getting paid, which is one reason we hurried every chance we got.
    Parts suppliers such as those furnishing instrument panels, door panels, seats and consoles, etc are being squeezed to drop their prices. Some vendors are brought into the picture as the product is being designed and work with the major manufacturers. The pressure to cut costs is enormous. Under those conditions, I can see why interiors, which has been a long time weakspot for GM, has been an easy place to cut costs, until now. I saw the Aura at the Cleveland Auto Show earlier this year and thought this is a step in the right direction. But only the first step. I’m not immediately in the market to replace my 97 528i, but feel there are many new products heading for market in the next few years that just might make import fans (such as myself) also include the old time domestic makers on their consideration list. I intend to keep an eye on the Aura and possibly take one for a spin this year.
  • Saturn Sky has a damn good interior. At least I did not notice any flaws sitting in it. And did not like how Solstice was executed. Sky has very strong design overal, though I do not know how it drives. Only Sky I saw in dealership had a huge mark-up ($30K even though it had base engine). They were ready to sell it, but thank you, I can wait. It is a one sweet looking car. I would consider it as a personal toy car if I like how it drives.
  • I got a chance to see a Soltice up close. Area dealers often bring new cars into the plant and put them on display. The Saturn Sky has not made it to the plant display floor space yet. My Z3 is probably a bit tighter in interior space but the curvy lines of the Solstice were impressive. I like the lines of the Sky even more but unfortunately, with the top retracted, it has about enough room for 3 loaves of bread. I assume the Sky has the same trunk space as the Solstice. Since this is an Aura forum, I'll try to stay on topic and add that the Aura is generally close in size to my 528i so I looked at it with interest. Actually, it was seeing an Aura at the carshow with the Morocco Brown Leather seating that caught my eye.
    The brown just seems natural, although they are all pigmented finishes. Seems the older I get, it gets a bit harder to adjust to changes, like instrument panel colors. Both my Z3 and 528i have a dull orange/reddish display. The hotsy yellow in the Saturn instrument cluster would seem to be a bit flashy for this old dog.
  • v_dv_d Posts: 89
    They made a good job with the Sky because they had to sell it in Europe, which I really doubt they will since it is made in US. Europeans won't buy an US made car ever(!), bad marketing once again. Way to go GM keep it going and we won't miss you.
    Ford did a great job when it joined Peugeot&Citroen (PSA) in Diesel Engine Development, now PSA and Ford, Volvo have the same diesels in Europe (though Volvo has some unique inline 5 diesels).

    Why didn't they let the Aura be what it should? A normal Opel Vectra, unchanged and UNTOUCHED! We never had over here a car that is literally the same as the one from the Old Continent (maybe except the Audi's).

    Oh, and something else. We all care about prices right? Then why do we buy cars with big engines when we don't actually need them? For example an A3 in Europe with a 2.0TFSI engine (the same we have over here) starts at 33k Euros ($34k in Canada). But the same car with a 1.6FSI engine is 10k Euros down (that'll be $25k in Canada). That's A LOT OF CASH! They could make the A3 affordable.

    Same with the Aura they could've let a nice 2.0 European gas in it and keep the nice interior the Vectra has (well compared with the Aura). So why not?
  • 14871487 Posts: 2,407
    You are way off base. The lacrosse, Intrigue and Lumina all had DOHC V6s before the Aura had one. The fact that GM was using OHV engines here isnt proof that they were making bad cars in the US. The Grand Prix and regal had 240hp from a supercharged OHV engine back in 1997 when that type of power was unheard of in a $24K sedan. It's not a big deal now, but those cars were fastest in class back then.

    The Aura IS NOT in the same league as the Passat. You keep saying that but the sticker price of the Aura does not support that. The Passat cost about $11k more than a Aura loaded and thus it better have some superior materials. The Aura competes with the 2.0T Passat with few options. I dont doubt that the Passat has better plastics, but if you compare an Aura and Passat with similar price tags the Aura will be faster and better equipped and better looking. The Passat is looking to steal buyers from the TL, 3 series, ES330, etc and it's price and interior quality reflect that. The Aura is playing in a slightly lower league. Do not act like the Aura has a monopoly on shiny plastics. Get in a 6, fusion, Sonota, Altima or Accord.

    I'm pretty sure the Aura (and Outlook) is a sign that American car makers arent dead yet. I fail to understand how you can say things are the same with so many exciting models coming out.
  • vanman1vanman1 Posts: 1,397
    Anyone tested a XE and a XR back to back? While I really think I should buy a XR (coming from an Intrigue with a 3.5 Shortstar), but with the price difference I am wondering if the XE would suffice. Nice thing about the XE is you still get all the safety features standard (SABs, ABS ect). I also really like the 5-spoke alloys on the XE, best wheels available on the Aura.
  • 1997montez341997montez34 NJ, USAPosts: 202
    I drove both. I was actually more impressed with the XE as a value proposition. I expected the XR to be quick, and it was. But the XE felt very good as well and I think it represents a great value if not loaded with add-on options. One note: the XE is not available with stability control that comes standard on the XR. To me it's not a big deal, but that might be a consideration for you.
  • v_dv_d Posts: 89
    yeah and the 5-spoke alloys are optional
  • v_dv_d Posts: 89
    I'm pretty sure the Aura (and Outlook) is a sign that American car makers aren't dead yet
    yeah umm... let's see they are dead. Saturn is just a semi-europeanized brand of GM, Aura is an Opel Vectra, Outlook, Sky, and maybe Astra (if..) are all Opels. Therefore all were initial made for the European market. Saturn could revitalize itself if he would bring all Opels over. The small Corsa will fight the Honda Fit, Astra the Rabbit, Aura fights the Jetta (sort of..), Outlook (umm... Ford Edge?).

    Try to think of the US Car Market as a "second-hand" out-dated Market. Check this out: Aura, G6, Malibu etc all have a 5 yr old platform; VW brought the Rabbit/Golf here after 3 yrs; the TDI in the Jetta is more than 6 yrs old; Honda Fit is an European Jazz (3 yrs old); still don't have a NEW FOCUS; Nissan brought the NEW "C" platform developed with Renault after 4 yrs and the list goes on.
    Ford and GM are American brands, then why in hell don't they develop here NEW CHASSIS and designs and then export them?
  • "The Aura IS NOT in the same league as the Passat"

    What is the point then to bring Opels here then? Opel competes with VW in Europe.

    If Saturn does not compete with VW then why they call it Euro-blah-blah division? Isn’t it supposed to stand up against European invasion? If it is another Camry fighter then why do GM needs Chevrolet?
  • 14871487 Posts: 2,407
    The answer to most of your questions is "no". The Vectra may compete with the Passat in Europe due to all of the options it has that bring it up to the Passats level. The Aura is missing many things found on the VEctra and thus the car most likely costs less. Saturn knows people are not going to shell ot $30K+ for their cars. In fact people will barely pay that for a real European VW which is why you dont see many Passat V6s on the road. The Aura may be European in terms of handling and steering, but it does not have many of the luxuruies or tech features found on it's European brother. BTW, no one from GM has ever called Saturn the "Euro blah blah division" as you so eloquently put it. Saturn needs to be able to take on the Asians before it can take on European marques. You have to run before your crawl and all this stuff about Saturn going head to head with VW is pure speculation that has never been supported by Saturn's management. Look at the prices on VW products and then compare them to Saturn, if you can call that a comparison. The Aura is more on the Jetta's level in terms of price than the Passat.
  • v_dv_d Posts: 89
    Saturn was developed in order to support the fight against imports (more European imports than Asian ones).
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    Saturn was developed in order to support the fight against imports (more European imports than Asian ones).

    I may have misinterpreted but Saturn was formed to fight head to head with the japanese. There charge was to get non domestic Japanese buyers to buy american. It still works today but unfortunately Saturn was told to use their profits to develop their own line of cars. No profits so no new cars.

    GM has decided to make Saturn a viable division and now considers them in the product planning and they get money like every other division.
  • If Saturn is supposed to fight Asians so what the purpose of Chevrolet? What it is fighting? Ford? But Ford is fighting Japanese too. The whole existence of Chevrolet is a moot point. Or Saturn fights Toyota/Honda and Chevrolet fights Hyundai, Pontiac fight Mazda and Nissan, Buick fights Lexus, Cadillac fights Infinity?

    So it now looks like each GM brand fights different Asian manufacturer. So then Europeans are left alone to conquer American market no resistance offered. It seems like capitulation to me.
  • Saturn was indeed conceived at the time (late 80's) to compete with the Japanese imports. A big hint was when I saw 3 brand new Hondas :surprise: sitting in the Saturn warehouse on the grounds of the plant while we were building the plant. The floor was painted white and enhanced lighting was hung, typical for critical vehicle inspection. I did not see one European marque there. Chevrolet is the bread and butter division, selling econoboxes like Aveo, to Impala and the one mainstay, Corvette. Chevrolet's existence is far from moot.

    In 2006, the competition is tougher than ever and it seems the old time domestic makers have started to figure out new models with better handling, engines, powertrains and interiors are necessary to keep up with the competition. I welcome they're pulling their collective heads out of their ummm.... sandboxes and finally start to smell the coffee.
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    The story here is that this “different kind of company” is now selling
    products with a definite European flavor as part of a broader
    product-sharing strategy between it and Opel. While the Aura rides on the
    same 112.3-in. Epsilon wheelbase as the Pontiac G6 and Malibu Maxx, the
    exterior styling, interior fitments and driving dynamics give the
    impression that it is totally different.

    The detailing is impressive, from the
    larger projector-beam headlamps to the use of chromed accents on the window
    surround, side molding and door handles on the upscale XR model.
    Even the smallest detail is not overlooked, including lips instead of plain
    cutouts over the exhaust tips.

    Inside, the rich look of the Aura concept car has been faithfully executed
    in our test vehicle, which was equipped with the textured two-tone Moroccan
    leather interior. The dash is covered with high-quality, soft-touch
    materials and even the center stack, which is usually done up in matte
    black, has a textured gray finish. The analog instruments have carbon-fiber
    facing in the center, a white background behind the graphics, and lighted
    instrument pointers. The fit and finish are top-notch – even the base XE
    model has the same level of attention to interior detail, but offers up
    cloth seats (with a heat option) instead of the leather.

    The doors and rear decklid close with resounding thunks. This
    carved-from-billet feel to the body is reinforced out on the open road,
    where the cabin is Lexus-quiet, thanks to the use of acoustic laminated
    glass on the front doors and windshield as well as the extensive use of
    silent steel (a steel-and-composite sandwich) in the firewall.

    Aura feels surefooted with nicely controlled body movements over twists and
    turns. The long wheelbase also helps the ride – it’s a nice blend of Euro
    taut with American comfort. The steering is a hydraulic-boosted
    rack-and-pinion system, which has better feel and more precise action than
    the electric boost found in base Malibu and G6 models.

    it does deliver on one of the brand’s founding
    tenets: tremendous value. fully competitive with loaded Toyota Camrys and Honda Accords and
    less than a comparably equipped VW Passat.

    The Aura delivers solid road manners, great looks inside and out and
    tremendous value. As the name implies, it’s the perfect halo car for the
    new Saturn.
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    I welcome they're pulling their collective heads out of their ummm.... sandboxes and finally start to smell the coffee.

    Ever since Lutz was able to have influence the products have gotten much better. If you work your way back you can see the improvement each time.

    Aura, Aveo, Tahoe/SUV's, Sky/Solstice, Cobalt, DTS/Lucerne, Impala and here is where it starts to get a bit murky since Lutz was there but too late for great influence: G6, LaCrosse.
  • robbiegrobbieg Posts: 340
    I admit the aura looks nice in pictures. I think people who buy American cars fall into two categories 1) the people who buy American cars because they are cheaper than a comparable Japanese or Europoean car or 2) the people that only buy American cars. Basically, some people are going to buy the Aura because it is an American car but it will not be a success unless there are enough people who cross shop an Aura with Honda, Toyota, VW, etc. and end up buying an Aura. The only way this is going to happen is if the Aura is significantly cheaper to make up for the perceived, whether it is real or not, inferiority of American Cars. With this in mind, the Aura is by far the best midsize car that GM has put out in years. It is by far better than the Impala, Malibu and G6. However, it probably isn't cheap enough to make many people pass on the latest Camry or Accord.
    2014 Highlander XLE AWD, 2009 RX 350 AWD and 2007 Odyssey EX
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    OK folks, member merc1 has kindly created a new Saturn discussion on the Automotive News message board. That's the best place to talk about Saturn as a company, so that we can stay focused on the Aura in this discussion. Thanks!


    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • I am in no way understating Auras impact on Saturn, and GM...

    With that said, in an age were an accord gets a voice activated Nav and sound system and the Acrua (RDX or MDS?) gets a GPS linked climate control system, and the new crysler sebring will have a 20 gig hard drive to store music and files!!!!!! It would be nice if the aura came out with a just a plain simple navigation system, at least.

    What would be cool is if all cars had hard drives in them. They would really become more like computers and would be so must more than transportation and self expression.

    For GM, comming out with a DOHC with output and features similar to its japanese competition is a huge deal. I'm not in anyway bad mouthing them. A nav system, however, at least?!
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    Actually, whatever Saturn may have been, given the Aura is almost identical to the Opel Vectra, it would appear Aura is meant to compete directly with the Passat and Jetta.

    The Vectra competes quite well with the Passat and Jetta in Europe.
  • merckxmerckx Posts: 565
    I drove the base Aura with very few options today. I've been driving a 2001 Passat 1.8T manual shift. I was amazed how nice the Aura is...Like many car guys,I'd come to not think much of Saturn. I did miss the lack of a manual shift a little bit,but overall,I was extremely impressed. The car seemed absolutely of quality-very,very solid. For the most part,I found the interior materials very satisfying;but then,many luxury cars seem overtrimmed for my taste. The side windows are oddly narrow,with a very low roof. getting back in my VW for the ride home,this seemed the most noticeable difference. A base car is less than $21,000...This seems like an excellent value. In no way did I feel like I was in a miserly car,the way one might feel in a Focus,for example. I could heartily recommend this car to anyone-here's a car a car guy can love!
  • 1997montez341997montez34 NJ, USAPosts: 202
    Did you drive the XE or XR model?
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    In case he does not answer he said base model. therefore XE.
  • 1997montez341997montez34 NJ, USAPosts: 202
    Oh, sorry. Must be past my bedtime! :)
  • merckxmerckx Posts: 565
    Base indeed...I usually prefer a pretty basic car...I never mind paying for quality,but sometimes the accompanying tinsel can be a bit of a turn-off...
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    "Actually, whatever Saturn may have been, given the Aura is almost identical to the Opel Vectra, it would appear Aura is meant to compete directly with the Passat and Jetta"

    No. It's meant to compete with the Altimas, Camrys, Accords and Passats of the world. The Mailibu and G6 are based upon the same platform, do you think they're meant to compete with the Passat and Jetta?

    Both the Japanese and American car makers tout "European" driving feel in some of their vehicles. The TSX is an Accord designed for the European market but that car isn't meant to compete solely against European marquees
  • Maybe in Europe but in these here states, the Passat is far above the Aura. Sit in a Passat and you will see. VW attention to detail is immense. Features such as a self drainging umbrella holder in the door and a car computer were you can even set how long you want the light delay to stay on when you hit the open bottom on the key fob. There is a list of "unexpected features" on another vw dedicated website that will blow your mind. The Passat can't even be had in clothe. I mean a Passat is a luxury car, period. A Aura is not.
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