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The new Saturn Aura is not only chalking up good reviews, it’s also attracting all kinds of competitors’ cars in trade, according to Jill Lajdziak, the GM marketing executive in charge of the Saturn brand.

"We're getting all kinds of vehicles in trade for the Aura," Lajdziak said. Saturn dealers report they are taking in Honda Accords, Toyota Camrys, crossover vehicles, and even BMWs for the Aura.

 

More than 40 percent of the Auras sold so far have been bought with highest trim level, she said.

 

The strong sales indicate that Saturn's new product plan, which leans heavily on European styling and design, is on track, she added. Saturn has always been about attracting customers from import brands and new products like the Aura are succeeding in getting Saturn back into the game, she said.

 

Last week, GM also announced that Saturn would be getting its own version of the 2007 Opel Astra, which was unveiled in Bologna, Italy. The three- and five-door Saturn Astras will replace the Saturn Ion. The Astra was designed in Russelsheim, Germany, and will be built in Antwerp, Belgium, GM said.

 

“The Astra is a great fit for Saturn, with its European style and driving dynamics,'' said Lajdziak. “It also signals our efforts to get new vehicles to market quickly and reinvent the entire Saturn product lineup with unprecedented speed,'' she said.

 

Once the new Astra and the new 2008 Saturn Vue join the Saturn lineup next year, the now three-month-old Saturn Sky will become the oldest model in the brand's product portfolio.

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