General Motors Exports Rebadged Saturn Sky to Korea

By: Anthony Fontanelle

One of General Motors's assembly plants is handling the manufacture of a rebadged Saturn Sky which will be shipped and sold in the South Korean auto market. The South Korean version of the Saturn Sky is named as the G2X.

The assembly plant producing the said revised Sky is the Boxwood Road facility. The industrial unit has already shipped 60 units of the G2X roadster to California. From there, the vehicles will be dispatched to South Korea. The said move was made quietly by General Motors. The vehicles will be sold come October at the South Korean auto market.

The GM Daewoo brand has already promoted the two-seater convertible at various motor shows in South Korea. At the recently concluded Busan Motor Show, the brand revitalized by General Motors publicized the coming of the G2X in the South Korean auto market.

According to the company, the Boxwood Road assembly facility will be manufacturing 150 units of the rebadged Saturn Sky next year for the 2008 model year. All of these vehicles will be exported and sold in South Korea which is a market currently being dominated by vehicles from Hyundai and Kia.

The Boxwood Road plant was tasked with the assembly of the G2X since it also produces vehicles sharing the same platform with the roadster. Along with the G2X, the assembly facility also produces the original Saturn Sky with its and other components. The Pontiac Solstice is also made at the same factory as the G2X and the Saturn Sky. Both the Solstice and the Sky are built for sale in the United States auto market. Aside from these models, the facility also produces Opel roadsters to be sold in the European car market.

The addition of the G2X to the facility's tasks will not increase the number of shift or employees at the Newport plant. "It is very low volume," says Pam Reese on the production of the G2X. In fact, Reese pointed out that the small number of G2X convertibles assembled at the facility was not listed at the factory's production report.

The move by General Motors to market a rebadged Saturn Sky in other parts of the world is being commended by auto industry experts. The G2X is built around the Kappa platform which is designed for sports cars which means that the company only aims to produce a low number of the vehicles based on the platform. With the introduction of the G2X in South Korea, General Motors has expanded the practicality of the Kappa platform.

"For them to sell a version of it in Korea is a great way to maximize the functionality and profitability of an otherwise limited platform," says Karl Bauer, the editor-in-chief at Edmunds.com. Analysts also predict that General Motors will be introducing a rebadged Saturn Sky convertible in Australia. It is expected that General Motors will market a convertible built around the Kappa platform under the Holden brand in Australia.

General Motors announced that they will produce about 18,000 units of the Pontiac Solstice at the Boxwood Road assembly plant, down from last year's 19,710 units assembled. The Saturn Sky will benefit from this since General Motors aims to increase the production of the roadster. From last year's 8,671 units built, General Motors aims to produce 13,000 units of the Saturn Sky. This year marks the Saturn Sky's first whole year in the market.

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