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View Poll Results: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?
Yes! 81 63.78%
No Way! 32 25.20%
I Don't Care... 14 11.02%
Voters: 127. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-16-2006, 12:31 AM   #1
Charlie
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Default Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Should GM import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's next small car?

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The Beacon Journal reports that General Motors will build a new Pontiac small car, not the rumored Saturn ION replacement, at GM's Lordstowns, Ohio manufacturing facility. GM made the announcement at the 2006 National Automobile Dealers Association annual meeting in Orlando, Florida earlier this week. Incidentally, sources tell SaturnFans.com and a search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's website confirms that Saturn has registered the name 'Astra' with the organization. Astra is the name of the Opel small car sold in Europe. GM executives have gone on record saying that Saturn and Opel will collaborate on new models. Saturn will ship a version of its SKY roadster to Europe as the Opel GT beginning next year. Will GM import the Astra to the United States as the ION replacement? Perhaps. Such a move would give Saturn almost instant access to a new small car, and it would circumvent any North American production issues. Currently only Lordstown and Spring Hill are configured to build GM Delta-based vehicles in the United States; the Spring Hill line is scheduled to be shut down and retooled at the end of this year.

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Old 02-16-2006, 08:03 AM   #2
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

I think it would be a cool car for some. I wouldn't want such a small car, but would be nice if they bring the diesel in it, could compete with the golf TD.

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Old 02-16-2006, 09:40 AM   #3
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Given a choice between the nest Small Saturn being a rebadged Chevy or Pontiac or a rebadged Opel. Give me the Opel. My first car was a 70' Opel GT. I still miss that car. I too would like to see a diesel option in a small 4 door sedan.

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Old 02-16-2006, 09:48 AM   #4
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

They should definitely bring it over. It'll quickly become one of the best sellers if they keep the looks and build quality on par with Opel's version.

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Old 02-16-2006, 09:52 AM   #5
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

I don't have a problem with it -- the Astra is way cool.

It may p*ss off a few UAW peeps, though.

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Old 02-16-2006, 09:55 AM   #6
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

I say bring it on....in 3dr and 5dr only to further differentiate it from other more mainstream GM models. I think the Astra is absolutely beautiful, and it already has the "Euro-flavor" baked right in. Just don't detune it or soften the suspension, it's German, let it stay that way. No more dumbing down for American tastes. It's just like the BMW, Mercedes and VW cars....if you don't 'get it', you never will.

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Old 02-16-2006, 09:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

I am not a huge hatchback fan, but it's not completely ugly. It would be nice if they brought the design to the States and put some of the thousands of out of work auto workers back to works instead of fueling the economies of foriegn countries.

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Old 02-16-2006, 09:53 PM   #8
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Heck Yeah, but build it at Spring Hill. I want the Diesel version.

I bet GM will have to rehire the people they just laid off because that car will sell! What styling!!

I'm getting my deposit ready.

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Old 02-19-2006, 01:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

GM has had pretty mixed results as of late with rebadging import models from other global divisions. The Pontiac GTO is just a rebadged Holden/Vauxhall Monaro. I've driven one, and it's fast, but it handles like a dog, and I don't think they are very attractive.

On the other hand, I REALLY like just about EVERYTHING that Opel/Vauxhall has currently. The comparison above between the Aura and Astra in black showing how similar they are is fantastic. I am excited about the Aura, and I'd really like to see the ION replaced with something a bit more competitive. Sure, we all love the ION, but the rest of the world and market doesn't. The Astra is selling like mad in Europe for a reason. Granted, the US tends to like larger cars, but I think now it's getting to the point where most families have one larger and one smaller car. For example, we have an SL2 and a Vue. Some day the SL2 will be replaced. Hopefully at that point, I can convince the wife to drive the Vue and I can get a 240+HP Astra (or whatever they call it) with a 6spd manual -- something I can take to the track and hang with the boys in the Subaru STis.

I would really prefer to see it manufactured at Spring Hill, and I'd love to see it in polymer and not steel, but GM has made it 100% clear that future Saturns are not going to be polymer, even if they are made at Spring Hill. When SH shuts down for retooling in 2007 or 2008, all the polymer making gear will get tossed, I'm sure, and the next-gen Vue (Opel Antara, remember?) and next-gen ION (Opel Astra) will probably be put into production. I seriously doubt that the plants in Europe could handle making another 20 to 30 thousand vehicles or more per year to support the next-gen Saturn Vue and Ion.

Keep in mind, our dear, sweet Sky is almost identical to the Opel GT, and I don't see many people complaining about it. Almost universally, people say they prefer the Sky/GT over the dumpy-looking Pontiac Solstice.

Saturn would have a pretty sweet lineup in 2008:
Sky (based on Opel GT)
new Ion (based on Opel Astra) with various forms, 2 door hatch, 4 door hatch, wagon, and coupe/targa with fold-down hard top
Aura (new platform for GM, IIRC)
new Vue (based on Opel Antara)
new Outlook (based on a new GM platform)
and the Relay, yer dumpy ol' rebadged generic minivan that serves its purpose and fills a need and is reasonably comfortable and functional inside and out.

Sounds like a pretty good lineup to me. You could have a car for every member of the family, kids of driving age, mom & dad, and even gramma and gramps. Saturn has always complained of not having enough models to meet everyone's needs. With the direction they are going, they will, and most of them will be *very* sharp looking cars. I'm all for domestic production, let's see how that pans out.

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