5 of 6
2008 Saturn Aura
October sales: 8,583
U.S. market share: 1.45%

GM's Saturn brand has been amazingly resistant to success. After years of hard work, GM has finally admitted that Saturn has been "disappointing" and the carmaker is now in discussion with its dealers about what's next.

Over the last few years, Saturn has had a complete make-over of its once drab model line-up. The new cars are flashy-looking and mostly well-received by critics.

One car, the Saturn Aura, was voted car-of-the-year by auto critics in 2007. When its close relative, the Chevrolet Malibu, received the same honor in 2008, its sales took off like a drag racer. So far this year, Malibu sales are up almost 40%. The Aura, meanwhile, moved like it was circling for a parking space, with its sales falling even lower this year.

Part of the problem has to do with Saturn's "No haggle" pricing policy. In exchange for agreeing not to finagle on deals, Saturn dealers got big exclusive territories with many miles between them. That means it's much harder to find a Saturn dealer than a Chevrolet or Pontiac dealer.

So customers really have to want a Saturn, and GM hasn't convinced enough people that they do. "I think that this last 18 to 24 months has shown that the Saturn concept has not been established in consumers minds," said J.D. Power analyst Tom Libby.

NEXT: Saab

Last updated December 03 2008: 1:00 PM ET
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