Renault to Help Mercedes with New Smart Vehicle, Plans Return To U.S.

Richard Read from the Car Connection: No one can deny that French automaker Renault is on the move these days. In addition to its work with Nissan on electric vehicles, the company is in talks with Mercedes-Benz to develop a new model for Mercedes' Smart brand. And here in the U.S., the company is chatting with Roger Penske about selling Renault-badged vehicles on American lots alongside Saturn automobiles - vehicles that Renault's Samsung subsidiary may begin producing after General Motors pulls the plug in 2011. Not only is Penske interested in having Renault's Korean arm, Samsung, manufacture Saturns in the future (after they stop rolling off the GM line in 2011), but his dealerships may also sell Renault-badged vehicles alongside them. These discussions are very, very preliminary, but we wouldn't be surprised if they firmed up in the near future.

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Review of the 2008 Saturn Astra 5-door XR

2008 Saturn Astra Road Test Photos

John Heilig from The Auto Page loved the details surrounding the 2008 Saturn Astra XR 5-door that he drove. "You recognize its European heritage with the 'switchblade' key that looks as if it came form the Audi/VW parts bin," he wrote. "The Astra has projector beam headlights nestled in plastic-covered nacelles. They consist of three units on each side and they're very impressive in a small car. It's what you'd expect in a high-end mid-size for example."