Saturn to reskin L series next year

Saturn is pushing a restyling of its L series to get the model to dealerships by April, industry sources said Friday, Oct. 5.

Saturn originally slated the introduction of the restyled 2003 Saturn L for fall 2002, say two dealers and Joe Brennan, president of UAW Local 435 in Wilmington, Del. The Wilmington assembly plant is beginning to build the vehicles, Brennan said.

Dealers said all of the body panels except the doors are new.

Regarding styling, one dealer who saw the car called it a "huge improvement. They raised the front end so that it doesn't have that wedge look. It really makes it look like a Euro car. It has a cloth interior that reminds you of the European imports. They got rid of the wood grain and used a brushed-metal look on the dash."Saturn sold 75,371 L series units through September, up 0.9 percent from last year, making it one of the few General Motors cars not to lose sales this year. But its sales have run far below initial projections of 200,000 annually, a shortfall critics blame on the current model's bland styling.

You can reach Dave Guilford at dguilford@crain.com

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