When this whole mess started, I really thought it would be the younger, smaller companies like Saturn that would be in the best position to ride out the storm. They don't have a century of bad business practices to restructure when things get bumpy, and would be more flexible to change, I'd think. Who knows what will happen to Saturn; GM is almost definitely selling the brand, to whom we can't quite be certain, yet, from what info I can find. Roger Penske, the US distributor of Smarts appears to be interested, but mostly as an increased distribution network.
I've never been a huge fan of their styling, to be honest. I find it to be a little on the bland side. The 2009 Vue is a nice enough looking vehicle, though, and is available as a hybrid:I find it kind of unfortunate that the hybrid is more expensive than the gas guzzling packages. It's second in expense only to their "luxury" Red Line package (however much a Saturn can be "luxurious"). This is another case where I believe the government needs to step in, to make it economically desirable to purchase more fuel efficient alternatives right from the get-go. Consumers will already be trepidatious enough about technology not time honored developing mechanical problems and being difficult or costly to repair, not worth the savings at the pump, without the greener alternatives also being so much more expensive at the dealer.
On the design front, at least, I am quite impressed by the Sky, which is looking extremely sharp this year:
Quite reasonably priced, too, at around $30k. The Red Line with 260hp turbo engine gets 28mpg on the highway, which is actually better than the non-hybrid Vue. There's something very fun about its lines, in an almost beach buggy sort of way.
©2009, Ryan Witte