Ion Production to Move to Lordstown

The Plain Dealer reported this weekend that General Motors plans to move production of the Saturn Ion from Spring Hill, Tennessee to Lordstown, Ohio. The plan, which has been rumored for months, has not been officially announced or confirmed by GM. The Lordstown Assembly Plant currently builds the Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac Pursuit (which is only sold in Canada) compact cars. All three models are based on a version of GM's global Delta architecture.

While the Cobalt and Pursuit are virtually clones of one another, the all-new 2007 Ion is expected to look distinct and will be different from both models. The 'Ion' name is expected to be the only element carried-over to the new model. Gone will be the current car's dent-resistant polymer panels, unique quad-coupe doors, and controversial center-mounted instrument cluster. Styling will borrow heavily from the Opel Astra. Sources tell SaturnFans.com that one GM executive, when commenting on a question posed at the North American International Auto Show in January about a possible Ion-Astra connection, reportedly pointed up at the Astra hatchback diesel hybrid on display and said that styling of the new Ion "will be even more expressive."

Click here for pictures of the Opel Astra.

Source: The Plain Dealer

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Report: GM Wants $2.4 Billion in Canadian Aid for Next-Generation Buick Regal

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Next-Generation Buick Regal

David Thomas from Cars.com Kicking Tires: If you think domestic automakers are only hitting up U.S. taxpayers for help, go north of the border. Canada's National Post newspaper reported today that General Motors is asking the Canadian government for $2.4 billion in aid. In exchange, it promises to bring a new Buick model — the Regal, which is already sold in China — to its Ontario plant for North American distribution. GM says it will position the Regal to compete with the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, but doesn't say what its new LaCrosse — set to debut in Detroit next month — will be positioned against.