Saturn Corp., the long-awaited and much ballyhooed car company conceived by General Motors Corp. seven years ago, announced this weekend a 30-day money-back guarantee and a starting price of $7,995 for its sedan, which is at least $1,000 below most industry projections.
The aggressive marketing strategy appears to be an attempt by Saturn to undercut similar-sized cars from Toyota, Honda and Ford when its new cars go on sale Oct. 25, initially at 30 dealers in the South and West.The Saturn cars, made at the company's multibillion-dollar manufacturing complex in Spring Hill, Tenn., will be offered in three sedan versions and one coupe model.
The base sedan, dubbed the Saturn SL, will start at $7,995, with the Saturn SL-1 sedan to begin at $8,595. The Saturn SL-2 Sports Touring Sedan will start at $10,295, and the Saturn SC sports coupe will start at $11,775.
The betting is that these cars, to be offered through Saturn showrooms with little reference to GM, would sell in the $10,000-$13,000 range, although there were indications entry prices could be lower to help the car fulfill its mission of driving rings around the import competition.
All include as standard equipment AM-FM stereo, rear window defogger, folding rear seat, adjustable steering column and a stainless steel exhaust system.
Two aluminum engines are offered: a 1.9 liter, 85-horsepower four-cylinder engine. An optional, 1.9 liter, 16-valve four generates 123 hp. EPA fuel estimates from 23 city to 37 mpg highway, depending on drivetrain.
But once equipped with air conditioning and an automatic transaxle that together cost $1,470, Saturns will most likely sell in the price range previously estimated.