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Saturn: No-haggle doesn't mean no-hike
Saturn dealers are charging more than the sticker price for hot Sky roadster, newspaper says.
March 20, 2006: 1:34 PM EST


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Saturn still has a "no-haggle" pricing policy, but that doesn't mean the dealer has to charge sticker price. And some dealers are charging over sticker price for the new Saturn Sky sports car, according to a California newspaper.

Charging a premium over the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) for a popular car, especially one that's in short supply, is a common practice at car dealerships of all kinds. But many Saturn customers had assumed that the General Motors brand's policy of "no-haggle pricing" meant that customers would always be charged the vehicle's sticker price.


2007 Saturn Sky

Car manufacturers cannot legally require a retailer to charge any set price for a vehicle, however.

"Retailers are free to set their own prices, but we always highly encourage our retailers not to sell above the MSRP," said Jill Lajdziak in a company statement quoted in the Orange County Register story.

Saturn's no-haggle policy simply means that every customer coming into a given dealership gets the same price, a GM spokesman said in the story. It does not necessarily mean that every customer pays the sticker price.

In order to prevent price competition, General Motors does not allow different Saturn dealers to operate dealerships in the same general area, GM spokesman Brian Brockman told CNNMoney.com.

The general manager for Orange County, Calif.'s three Saturn dealerships declined to discuss pricing policy with the newspaper.

The Sky is based on the same vehicle architecture as the popular Pontiac Solstice sports car. The Solstice, the Sky and the Opel GT, which is very similar to the Sky but is sold only in Europe, are all built in the same factory in Wilmington, Del.

In the past, Saturn dealers had charged prices lower than the MSRP for slow-selling models, according to the story.

Here's some more info on the Saturn Sky :




Introduction:
Hello, sunshine. The new Saturn Sky, which is labeled a 2007 model but will be available in the spring of 2006, brings some welcome warmth and activity to the Saturn brand. This is Saturn's first convertible, and its impact on the otherwise dowdy Saturn lineup could be equated to having Maria Sharapova show up at a pickup tennis match full of middle-aged and badly dressed men. Fun to drive and relatively easy on the wallet, the Sky's attractive shape will certainly turn a lot of bystanders' heads. For its approximate $23,000 MSRP, the Sky provides a lot of value for the money.

Like its corporate cousin, the Pontiac Solstice, the Sky is a two-seat, rear-drive roadster with a manually operated convertible top. The two cars are built on the same chassis, which draws inspiration from the Chevrolet Corvette in that they utilize hydroformed longitudinal rails and are quite stiff. The Sky and Solstice also have very similar dimensions and curb weights (almost 2,900 pounds) and use the same powertrain. Standard and optional equipment levels are also about equal.

This family DNA sharing means that the Saturn Sky is inbred with the same strengths and weaknesses. On the positive side, the Sky can be a blast to drive. Its big 18-inch wheels and tires provide a high level of grip and its 2.4-liter engine, while not exactly a model of refinement, provides enough gusto to keep one's attention from waning. Its cockpit is also relatively roomy. The major downsides are its fussy top operation and a trunk that is small even for this class of car. Choosing between the Sky and Solstice will come down mainly to your preference in styling and availability at the dealership. Alternatively, one can check out the Mazda Miata, which was fully redesigned for the 2006 model year. The Miata is a little more expensive, but it boasts a higher level of quality and a more interactive driving experience. Overall, the Sky is certainly the most exciting (and arguably best) product to come out since Saturn's inception and will no doubt inspire a very pleasing ownership or leasing experience.




Body Styles, Trim Levels and Options:
The Saturn Sky is a small two-seat convertible. Choosing one is relatively easy as there is only one trim level available. Standard equipment highlights include 18-inch wheels, a manual cloth top with a glass rear window, automatic headlights, keyless entry, cruise control, power windows and mirrors, air conditioning and a six-speaker audio system with a CD player. One can upgrade the audio system to a more powerful seven-speaker system that also has an MP3-compatible, in-dash CD changer and the option for satellite radio. An optional Premium Trim package adds leather seating, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with mounted audio controls, and a bit of flashy metallic trim for the sill plates and pedals. Other optional features include chromed 18-inch wheels and a limited-slip rear differential.

Powertrains and Performance:
A 2.4-liter, inline four-cylinder engine resides underneath the Sky's hood. It develops 170 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. It sends its power to the rear wheels through a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional five-speed automatic.


Safety:
Four-wheel antilock brakes are standard equipment. So is OnStar, GM's telematics system. Side airbags and stability control aren't offered.

Interior Design and Special Features:
Though dainty roadsters aren't typically known for having roomy cabins, the Saturn Sky is better than most in terms of offering enough room for large occupants to stretch out. A wraparound dash and high door sills surround the driver like the cockpit of a fighter jet, and bolstered seats are comfortable and supportive. Still, the cabin is marred by some mediocre plastics. The retractable top is a bit fussy; lowering it requires the driver to turn a latch on the windshield, pop the rear deck lid with a button in the glovebox, then get out of the car and manually fold the top down into its well before slamming the rear deck closed. It's not difficult, but it is tedious compared to the MX-5's one-handed operation. We're also not fans of the Sky's trunk, which provides just 3.8 cubic feet of space with the top up.

Driving Impressions:
When thrown into a corner, the Sky will tend toward safe understeer unless provoked with the throttle. Most drivers will find the car's substantial lateral grip and quick steering enjoyable enough to make the Sky a fun and engaging canyon companion. Ride quality is quite acceptable for normal day-to-day use. The 2.4-liter Ecotec engine, which is pretty much the same engine found in a multitude of GM economy-oriented products, is merely adequate in terms of refinement and performance.
 

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yeah, as much as i HATE saturn, i actually like the Sky

a LOT more than the Solstice, BTW, which I think is ugly
 

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Love the Sky. Hope the 260 hp turbo Solstice GXP engine eventually makes it into the Sky though. Almost like a cheap man's Boxster.
 

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I have to say it as well. I ALWAYS hated Saturn vehicles, but they are starting to get better. I have minor interest in the Ion and Vue, but this thing really changed the big picture. I've seen the solstice at a dealership in one of those "win me" advertising campaigns, but I like this Sky better. Very original name for a car, actually. I'll buy one if its got some good leg-room. Looks kinda cramped.

Josiah
 

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I've been a bit out of the loop with upcoming vehicles, this is the first I've seen this car. I really like it. Good thing there's not a Saturn dealer close by, or I'd be tempted.
 

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There's been talk of and info about the Skye on the internet for a couple years now. Very nice looking car. Lets hope they can actually sell them. Like said earlier, a poor man's boxer indeed. Another soon to arrive Saturn is the Aura. A sedan in similar size to our treps. Another nice looking vehicle. Right now parked in my driveway, along with my '01 trep, is my wife's brand new '06 Ion 2. Man I forgot how much fun stick is to drive! Yes, Saturn is still lacking in standard features, like power windows and cruise were extra and we didn't but wish we did get them. But when they're running financing deals like we got, 0% interest for 4 years, how can you think twice about it? Of course, the Skye will have no such deal, but it should bring some renewed interest in the brand name. As I suspect the Aura will do the same.
 

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When I was at the Toronto Auto Show, this was easily in the top 3 vehicles I saw there. Besides the M6 and Camaro...oh and the Charger SRT8...droooool...
Saturn's Aura looks HOT too btw
 

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Nice looking little car. I agree with Alderran needs to be in the 25K or less class. Then again S2000 is a over priced car. Man you have to rev the **** out of the motor, to get any speed. And it screams like a ass raped Nun at high revs. 350Z would be a better car by far, in the 30K class.
 

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It is my understanding that not all of the dealers are pricing over MSRP, so it is paying for people to shop around.

froggy81500 said:
Lets hope they can actually sell them.
Last note I saw was that GM had almost completely sold the 20,000 vehicles that they planned on producing this year (between Sky & Solstice combined). Not bad considering most of those sales were made before anyone had ever driven, much less sat in one of those cars.

Aura looks outstanding, especially the interior. My wife is quite sure we will need to be trading in a car for an Aura when they come out. And re-affirming why I married her, she said it would not be the Intrepid that we got rid of because she likes it to much. That's my girl!
 

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alderran said:
How much more than sticker? If it's getting anywhere near 30K then you'd be stupid not to buy an S2000 or 350Z.
The Solstice GXP should be able to keep up with either, easily.
 
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