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Aura To Take On Camry and Accord

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Saturn Aura

Aura To Take On Camry and Accord

Anthony Fontanelle
June 13, 2007

The Saturn brand has been revitalized by General Motors to provide good competition for Asian brands such as Toyota and Honda. In the past, the brand is known only for its haggle-free customer service, but with General Motors injecting European styling and a better performance engine to the Saturn cars, the brand quickly became a strong competition to Toyota and Honda.

The brand’s midsize sedan, the Saturn Aura, recently was named as the North American Car of the Year and that is a sure sign that they are moving forward in challenging Asian car brands for supremacy in the auto market. Saturn will now capitalize on the distinction given to the Aura and will use it as the anchor of their latest marketing strategy.

In a move akin to Ford’s Fusion Challenge, Saturn will also put the Aura against the Camry and the Accord to let car buyers experience the new Saturn experience. The marketing strategy is aimed to highlight the fact that the Aura bested the Camry and the Accord. According to the manufacturer of the Aura, they are also aiming to change the views of car buyers who think that domestic cars are inferior to those made by Toyota and Honda and even Nissan in that case.

The marketing strategy involves providing Camry units and Accord vehicles to consumer test drivers. These cars will be provided for those who are willing to test drive the Saturn Aura. Saturn dealerships will be running the Saturn side-by-side test drive strategy until the 31st of July although it is expected that Saturn will extend the marketing campaign.

“Those with preconceived notions about domestic cars who wouldn't even stop by a dealer to shop are the people with a mindset we're going after,” says Chuck Thomson, the executive director for Saturn marketing. “Rather than default to Camry or Accord we're saying we have a shot if you stop in and drive all three,” he added.

“When we get people in the seats, we're very successful, even among people who'd never think about shopping a Saturn,” inferred Thomson. He further pointed out that they are successful 40 percent of the time in selling a car when the customer has the car for a test drive.

Letting potential costumers test drive the competition’s car, of course, has its risks. There is that certain chance that consumers would like either the Camry or the Accord better. In response to this possibility though, Thomson has this to say: “It's a risk we're willing to take. We don't think it will happen.” According to Thomson, sixty percent of their consumers have never owned a General Motors vehicle in the past.

The 2007 Saturn Aura XE was named as the 2007 Car of the Year besting the 2007 Toyota Camry LE and the Honda Accord Special Edition with latter using the Honda Accord side marker light and other components.

Saturn though is not the only General Motors division to have thought about providing their consumers the chance to test drives the competition’s cars. Chevrolet is reported to be thinking about employing the same strategy by offering Camry units to be test driven side by side with the Chevy Malibu. General Motors announced though that the marketing strategy for the Chevrolet division has not been ironed out yet but it may even be employed sometime soon.

Source:  Amazines.com

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