Saturn Astra Set for 2007 Debut

Bob Lutz, General Motors' vice chairman for global product development, has high hopes for Saturn. The GM executive told Automotive News in a recent interview that was published this week that Saturn will be his company's hottest brand this year. Even though Chevrolet will experience the more growth in terms on the number of vehicles sold, Lutz told the magazine that among GM's eight brands, Saturn will have the largest "rapid overall percentage expansion."

Lutz also confirmed that Saturn's replacement for the compact Ion sedan and quad coupe will arrive "next year" as a rebadged Opel Astra. "When you think of where Saturn was two years ago, compared to where they will be 18 months from now, it'll be unrecognizably different," he said.

Despite interest in the new 2008 Saturn Astra, Automtotive News says that GM plans to import only 20,000 to 40,000 of the vehicles each year from Europe. Those figures will go up once GM retools a plant in North America to build the car. Saturn sold more than 100,000 Ions in 2005.

Source: Automotive News, Forbes

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Plug-in Vue Coming 'in 2009-ish'

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Saturn general manager Jill Lajdziak told reporters in Frankfurt at the 2007 International Motor Show that progress was moving along "very quickly," and the brand will introduce a plug-in version of its Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid "in 2009-ish."

Lajdziak was in Germany to unveil the production version of the 2008 Saturn Astra hatchback.