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GM Plans to Replace Slow-Selling Saturn: Report

November 21, 2003

The midsize sedan General Motors Corp. had hoped would be a hit with Saturn lovers is instead on the automaker's hit list, according to the Detroit Free Press.GM will kill off the slow-selling Saturn L-300 sedan and wagon in the summer of 2005, saysuppliers, auto insiders and GM officials, the Free Press reported. The plan is to replace it later in 2005 with a four-door hatchback that some insiders call theSaturn Sportsback, according to the paper.The Free Press reported the hatchback would be built on the same structure as the newChevrolet Malibu and the Saab 9-3.The Saturn L-300, called L-Series when it debuted in 1999, was GM's long-awaited attempt to create a midsize car that satisfied buyers of the original, compact Saturn would want to move to. Instead they just moved on, say auto-sales experts, according to the Free Press.Sales have driven into a ditch the last two months, the Free Press said. They fell 37 percent in September and 40 percent in October, compared with the same months in2002. This is despite Saturn making over the front grille and rear and adding a brushed-nickel trim and silver gauges inside, according to the Free Press."You go into a Saturn dealership and you can just see the L-Series isn't doing well," said Mike Wall, analyst for the forecasting firm CSM Worldwide. "Coming out, Saturn hoped people would want to graduate to the L-Series from thesmall Saturn, but they go on instead to a Toyota Camry."Wall said GM has about a 116-day supply of unsold L-300 sedans and wagons, well abovethe 60-day supply automakers prefer. That number remained high despite a supplier strike that halted L-300 production for three weeks in late October, according to the Free Press.
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