Saturn Sky, perfection in product naming

product_namingThis interesting looking coup is the new Sky from Saturn.

The bold new look signals Saturn’s first foray into reinventing their brand. The name Sky is a nice thematic tie-in with the name Saturn, and is the perfect name for a new convertible.

The name also helps to demonstrate and reinforce Saturn’s brand shift, as the name is a 180 from the cold, one-dimensional, random names of Saturn’s legacy offerings, the Vue, Ion and Relay.

While it appears Saturn is following the brand makeover blueprint created by sister company Cadillac, they are wisely not following Cadillac’s alpha-numeric naming scheme.

During Cadillac’s successful repositioning, the company dropped all real words from their product naming strategy and replaced them with numbers and letters. The idea was to elevate the brand, mimicking the naming schemes of BMW, Audi, Lexus and Infiniti.

Since then, Lincoln and others have either done the same or announced the intent to do so. Any consumer perceptions equating alpha-numeric car names with quality, performance or luxury will soon be non-existant.

Here’s the skinny on the new strategy:

product_namingThe (Opel) GT is the latest in a lineup of head-turners by a company whose cars were long considered dull by Europeans.

Its inspiration comes from a popular Opel GT model of the 1960s, but the new Opel is very much a part of GM’s recent push toward edgy looks to win back market share. Top management is betting Opel’s dynamic design will help power GM Europe back to profitability in 2006 after five years of steady losses.

GM is also twinning its Opel and U.S.-based Saturn brands in a bid to expand Saturn’s lineup with models that sport “European appeal” to compete with Volkswagen and Audi in the U.S. Going forward, Saturn’s cars will share common modules, components, and design language with Opel.

The Opel GT and the Saturn Sky are the first true sister models. “This car is about joining Opel and Saturn at the hip. Saturn deliberately wants to have more European styling,” says Carl Peter Forster, president of GM Europe.

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