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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GM Announces Significant Production Cuts for Q1 2009

General Motors announced today a significant reduction of planned production for the first quarter of 2009 due to the ongoing and severe drop in industry sales, which were down 36% in November overall and 41% for GM (2007 vs. 2008). The impact of these and recently announced actions to adjust production with market demand, will result in the temporary idling of approximately 30% of GM's North American assembly plant volume during the first quarter of 2009 and will remove approximately 250,000 units from production.