Saturn: We're Still Here

By Colin Bird  on March 18, 2009

As General Motors fights for its own survival, its subsidiaries — Saturn and Saab — were the first to feel the effects of the automaker’s empty coffers. Saab has already declared bankruptcy, cut 750 jobs and reduced production. There are reportedly a number of “interested parties” who might save the brand from absolute closure.

As for Saturn, GM fully intends to jettison the brand by 2012, with or without a buyer. With Saturn’s possible death out in the open, sales have fallen precipitously, down more than 50% since the beginning of 2009 compared to the same time frame in 2008.

According to The New York Times, in order to keep its few remaining customers, Saturn will roll out a new ad campaign this spring. One of them is featured above and one below. The campaign reminds viewers that despite all the depressing news surrounding Saturn, the brand is still here with all its cars and most of its dealerships intact.

The Saturn message focuses on its highly regarded dealership experience and its new lineup. Both TV spots feature real Saturn dealership owners basically confronting the problems facing Saturn and addressing them head-on.

“Saturn builds cars that Americans want to buy,” says Saturn dealer Jim Smith, addressing the idea that domestic carmakers only build garbage.

In addition to the ads, Saturn’s website has been completely revamped, now featuring flashy graphics and music that make the site look friendlier and more engaging.

Will this help sales? According to the New York Times article, it could actually hurt sales, as Americans who aren’t following the automotive sector will learn more about the brand’s troubles.

Also, fewer than 50% of Americans know Saturn is tethered to GM. These ads will enlighten more people that the companies are two-and-the-same.

As of now, the ads aren’t tied to any new incentives, and the only existing national deal on 2009 Saturn models is 0% financing for 60 months for qualified buyers. With Chrysler putting thousands of dollars in incentives on all three of its brands, Saturn — known for its no-haggle prices — might need to up the cash back offers to move units out the door.


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