Affordable Saturn Subcompact Deserves a Better Fate

Brian Harper from the Canwest News Service: Saturn is on borrowed time as a General Motors brand, jettisoned along with Pontiac, Hummer and Saab by the automotive giant. This is a crying shame because Saturn's lineup, after a couple of decades of corporate indifference, comprises an eclectic mix of interesting and entertaining vehicles. The Astra might be the brand's least expensive product, but it's also one of the most impressive. This European-derived subcompact (thank GM's Opel division) made its debut for the 2008 model year, making enough of an impact to not only take the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada's Best New Small Car category last year but also to be a finalist for overall Car of the Year honors. So, why should anyone care about the fate of one little car belonging to a secondary GM brand? How about for no other reason than the enjoyment of driving the XR is far beyond the hatchback's position as a sporty, entry-level product. In other words, take advantage of whatever deal a Saturn store will offer because the Astra's engineering and features make it a real steal.

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Breaking News: Auto Industry Bailout Plan Dies in the Senate

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Associated Press: A $14 billion emergency bailout for U.S. automakers collapsed in the Senate Thursday night after the United Auto Workers refused to accede to Republican demands for swift wage cuts. The collapse came after bipartisan talks on the auto rescue broke down over GOP demands that the UAW union agree to steep wage cuts by 2009 to bring their pay into line with Japanese carmakers.