Want to test drive a Saturn? Stay at home

Saturn is famous for their pricing policy – the price is on the sticker, and that’s final.  If you don’t like it, you’re welcome to buy something else.  Now GM’s rejuvenated one-price brand is adding a new trick to their bag – test drives at your home.  Anyone who is in the market for a Saturn, and wants to test-drive one, can simply pick up the phone and call their local dealer.  The dealer will arrange to deliver a new Saturn to the potential customer’s home for the test-drive.  The program even allows for the customer to hang on to the car while they run some errands, to get a better feel for the car.

The point of Saturn doing this is twofold.  One, they’re trying to re-affirm that they are the most customer-friendly brand on the market.  Not only do you not have to haggle to get a good price, you don’t even have to leave your home to drive our cars.  I think the gesture is a solid one in that regard.  On the other side of the coin, Saturn is trying to cater to the people that are ‘too busy’ to come out and drive a car.  This part, I simply don’t buy, and here’s why.

If you’re a regular Joe, the kind of person who would consider a Saturn, then chances are you haven’t quite made up your mind on the *exact* model that you want to own.  You’re the kind of guy who goes to the dealership and spends half the Saturday there, driving a few different vehicles or trim levels to find the one you like best.  At-home test drives really don’t help this guy out, because the dealership can only bring one car at a time.  Arranging for multiple at-home test drives is inefficient and a waste of time for everyone involved.  If you happen to be more of a business executive kind of guy, who works 80+ hours a week and just can’t get away, then this program isn’t really for you either.  Chances are that you’ve researched the options to death, and you know exactly what you want, what trim level, and what options.  However, it’s not a Saturn that’s on your list.  More likely it’s a Mercedes or a Lexus instead.

While I think the program will win Saturn some feel-good points, it really wasn’t all that well planned out, and doesn’t fit their target market.  Now if Lexus begins to offer test-drives are your place of business, they’ll have a hit on their hands.  Lexus, you listening?


Published on February 6, 2007 in Auto Industry News,Saturn

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