Saturn Corp. hopes recently introduced financial packages and advertising spots will revive its dead on arrival L-Series midsize sedan.

The automaker announced last week it was reducing output at the L-Series assembly plant in Wilmington, DE, for the third time this year. In order to decrease production, the 2,400 workers at the facility will alternate taking temporary layoffs from March 27-May 30. By then, or at the latest by year's end, the automaker hopes L-Series will be selling at the 200,000 unit a year pace it predicted.

A Saturn spokesman explains the L-Series' woes, “We found that people so strongly associated Saturn with small cars they were having trouble making the leap to Saturn having a midsize car.”

So, in January, Saturn rolled out two new television ads that show top midsize segment competitors Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. “It seems to be working. Sales are building,” the spokesman says.

Deliveries hit 6,262 in February, vs. 4,381 in January. Besides marketing tweaks, Saturn is offering nationwide loan and interest rate packages rather than typical incentives to maintain its “no hassle, no haggle” sales pitch. Besides the generally strong reviews, Saturn claims some 68% of the 25,855 L-Series deliveries made through February are conquest sales.