Newspaper Predicts Astra will be Canadian Car of the Year

Next month the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) will crown the winner of the 2008 Canadian Car of the Year award. Among cars in contention for the honor is the '08 Saturn Astra.

"Every year the top automotive journalists from all across Canada gather for a four-day new vehicle evaluation of over 180 models," says the AJAC on their website. "The evaluation is based on 'real-world' back-to-back testing so that the results have relevance for consumers. In other words, the rigorous testing program includes real world driving on public roads – exactly where consumers drive - so that the test, and vote, results are relevant to potential car and truck buyers."

After participating in the evaluation process, Canada's National Post predicts that this year the Astra will not only best its competition – which includes the Ford Focus SE, Mitsubishi Lancer GTS, Subaru Impreza, and Suzuki SX4 – in the small car category, but will also take top Car of the Year honors.

"When GM started importing cars from its European portfolio, it massaged them so much that the car lost its reason for being (in a word, Catera)," wrote the newspaper yesterday. "The Saturn Astra arrives intact and, as such, is a delight to drive. It has plenty of power and it handles exceptionally well (especially in three-door guise) while retaining everyday comfort. It's also versatile and well appointed. It's good enough, in fact, to beat all the contenders to earn my pick not only as Best New Small Car but also as a strong candidate for overall Car of the Year."

Source: AJAC, National Post

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Mysterious Ohio Based Investment Group Arises as a Potential Buyer

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Update on May 7th: Leading negotiations for this group is Gary Marvicsin. Detroit News reports that he is employed in the auto industry.

Detroit News reports that there is a mysterious Ohio based investment group interested in acquiring Saturn. Unlike the other interested buyers, this group has developed a concept to keep the company domestically based. According to the article, the group is interested in purchasing domestically abandoned manufacturing plants to produce Saturns. Chrysler plants that are targeted to close due to bankruptcy troubles were specifically mentioned. The group wants to continue to employee UAW workers at these plants. While recognizing the high costs associated with employing union workers, such as benefits and pensions, the group believes that it is the right move for two reasons.