If you want to test drive a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, starting next
month you'll be able to do it at a Saturn dealership. General Motors is
asking Saturn dealers to have one or more of the competing models in
the showroom so customers can look at it, sit in it and drive it.
Of course, Saturn dealers can't sell you an Accord or Camry. But they
hope that, when you see a Toyota or Honda sedan next to the Saturn
Aura, you'll decide to buy the Aura...
Later this year, Chevrolet dealers will be doing the same thing as they
introduce customers to the redesigned Chevrolet Malibu, which shares
its engineering platform with the Aura.
In focus group research, GM has shown potential customers new GM models
next to competing vehicles with all brand identifications removed and,
said LaNeve, customers have reacted well to the GM products...
According to industry newspaper Automotive News, sales for the Saturn
Aura http://tinyurl.com/yst75s which was voted Car of the Year by
automotive journalists in January, 2007, have been disappointing for GM.
Part of the reason GM is willing to take this step, said LaNeve, is
because the company has little to lose. Midsized sedan shoppers often
don't even consider GM products, he said, instead going straight to
Honda and Toyota dealers.
The Toyota Camry and Honda Accord are now the two best-selling cars in
"Over the course of a few years that became the default choice," said
GM has sold about 48,400 of the current version of the Malibu so far
this year. Meanwhile, Toyota has sold 145,000 Camrys...