Even with four new products coming in four years, thanks to a $1.5 billion investment from parentCorp., Saturn Corp. says it has no plan to add assembly plants to its manufacturing operations.
"It's probably not in the cards at this point. The (forthcoming sport/utility vehicle) is going to Spring Hill, and there is potentially extra capacity at the plant," a Saturn spokesman says.
Saturn plans derivatives off of the small SUV program (codenamed GMT315) but won't give any details. "We probably wouldn't do a luxury car. But anything else is possible," the spokesman says.
Saturn is believed to be considering vehicles that can best be described as a minivan (GMT318) and a pickup (GMT316). These likely are crossover vehicles that would share a Delta-based undercarriage with the SUV. The fourth product likely is the next-generation S-Series compact car due in 2003. Plans apparently call for all four products to be built at Spring Hill, TN.
One-third of the investment is earmarked for building a new engine factory in Spring Hill to build GM's new L850 global 4-cyl. powerplant. The rest will be used at Spring Hill for new equipment and tooling, paint shop refurbishment and building modifications.
One of Saturn's undisclosed future models will use a "high-tech" V-6 engine from GM's recent agreement withMotor Co. Ltd. Furthermore, new Saturn products will feature a combination of advanced transmissions, including an /Warner gearbox and a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Critics say the attention Saturn is getting from GM is five years too late for a division that went through most of the 1990s with a lineup comprised of solely the S-Series. The midsize L-Series car, introduced in 1999, so far has been a disappointment.