Saturn is counting on some flashy plastic to to make an important color change inside its new entry-level car:
Less gray on the heads of buyers.
The "different kind of car company" wants younger buyers for the Ion, which will replace the 12-year-old S series this fall.
To lure young buyers, Saturn is offering unusual features such as faux leopard skin interior trim. Saturn spokesman Mike Gardner said the automaker is targeting buyers 18 to 34 for the Ion. The average S-series buyer is about 42.
"Young folks want to express themselves through their vehicles, so the Ion allows them to do that with the personal accents," Gardner said.
For instance, owners can purchase color-coordinated roof rails that match the optional interior trim bezels. The curved rails extend from the A pillar to the C pillar and are available in several patterns, including leopard skin. Optional bezels in the same pattern can dress up the instrument cluster, heating controls and shifter.
Jeff Schuster, director of product analysis at J.D. Power and Associates, said, "One area the younger buyer looks at is, 'Does this vehicle speak to me? Am I driving the image of myself?' A way to do that is to customize the vehicle and that is a growing trend."
The 2002 Ford Focus Mach Audio, for example, features a 460-watt audio system and is aimed at buyers in their 20s.