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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 02-20-2006, 05:09 PM   #101
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdp326
This may have been covered already (here or elsewhere) but would the ION production continue for a short while into the 2007 MY?
MY2007 begins June 15, 2006 so technically, yes. Calendar year '07, no, since the MY runs from June of '06 to April (?) of '07, which is when the plant is scheduled to close down Line 1 for 1 year (MY08) for retooling....enter the Astra...then the plant comes back online for MY09. What happens during that year to Saturn's compact cars, what will they sell? Hmmm.....I have an idea.

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Old 02-20-2006, 05:48 PM   #102
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

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Originally Posted by Spanky
... I can't understand why so many Americans are opposed to hatchbacks. ...
Hatchbacks are noisier and less safe. Drive a car offered in both configurations it's quite noticeable. Take a look at the rear shelf in the ion. It's very robust. The fixed glass also add rigidity. A hatchback chassis will be much more flexible and have questionable side impact protection IMO. That flexibility translates into more squeaks and rattles. Plus all the noise generated by the muffler and suspension has direct path to the occupants. Americans are obsessed with the feel and refinement. That's more difficult to deliver in a hatch.

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Old 02-20-2006, 07:00 PM   #103
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Arrow Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdp326
This may have been covered already (here or elsewhere) but would the ION production continue for a short while into the 2007 MY?
What I'm hearing is that Saturn may do what they did with the L300: build a stockpile of 2007 IONs this fall so that when the line shuts down at the end of the year (December), retailers will have enough cars to last until the 2008 Astra arrives.

Charlie

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Old 02-20-2006, 07:08 PM   #104
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie
What I'm hearing is that Saturn may do what they did with the L300: build a stockpile of 2007 IONs this fall so that when the line shuts down at the end of the year, retailers will have enough cars to last until the 2008 Astra arrives.

Charlie
That's basically what I figured they'd do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarNut
Hatchbacks are noisier and less safe. Drive a car offered in both configurations it's quite noticeable. Take a look at the rear shelf in the ion. It's very robust. The fixed glass also add rigidity. A hatchback chassis will be much more flexible and have questionable side impact protection IMO. That flexibility translates into more squeaks and rattles. Plus all the noise generated by the muffler and suspension has direct path to the occupants. Americans are obsessed with the feel and refinement. That's more difficult to deliver in a hatch.
In Europe hatchbacks/wagons rule, and sedan versions of many cars--particularly compacts and smaller--aren't popular. In Europe people expect a lot more out of their cars, which is why you can get things like automatic air conditioning on a Focus which you can't get in the US, and it's why Ford won't give us the Focus yet, because it'd be too expensive for the market. Any carmaker that would care would make sure to engineer a hatchback to be as safe and rigid as a regular car. In Europe the crash tests are stricter and it's a lot harder to get a 5 star rating (one rating serves for the whole car as opposed to almost a half-dozen ratings for the whole car in the US). More cars in Europe are getting 5 star ratings, and the Astra apparently is one of them. Hatchbacks would be noisier but I don't think they're as less safe as it would seem.

Americans mainly don't like hatchbacks because they're set hard in their ways and are remember the hatches of the 70's.

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Old 02-21-2006, 12:19 AM   #105
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

It would be awesome. The Astra is more or less the same "size" as the Ion so it would make a great replacement for the next gen of the car.

and they could still have the VXR version, but we'd just call it the Redline.

It is already established and all the kinks are already hammered out.

But please please please at least equip it with some sort of LSD or TC because as I've seen that it likes to smoke its inside tire on tighter corners.

Will we also get the Turbo 16 valve, 6-speed gearbox and 240 HP????

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Old 02-21-2006, 09:47 AM   #106
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

I would think that a QC having no mid section door posts would be at least as "unsafe" as a hatchback. The "B" pillar is equally as important as the C and a hatch back would still have BOTH. There's nothing on the sides in a QC. That doesn't make me feel very "safe". And that's what it boils down to: conjecture and supposition, not anything to do with an actual fact. The QC does fine in side impact ratings.So would any modern hatchback, especially as the opening around the hatch would need to be reinforced to carry the body/frame strength of the -unit body.
And it was shown in court that the Pinto was no more prone statistically to fires in rear crashes than the Dodge Colt, Chevy Vega, AMC Gremlin, etc.But I am still glad that the old way of doing things is done with. I wouldn't worry about being less "safe" in a modern hatchback.
The reason people don't find them attractive today is that they sort of got the image of being "dorkmobiles". It was less refinement worries than "image" and ego problems.They just weren't "cool" to be seen in, and that stigma remains.It would be interesting to find what the age co-hort of the people thinking a hatchback would be desireable as opposed to those who would not be caught dead in one. They're no longer your father's hatchback ????
Of course no one worried about that with the 3rd generation [1982- 199??]Camaro and it's hatch.

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Old 02-21-2006, 10:16 AM   #107
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarNut
Hatchbacks are noisier and less safe. Drive a car offered in both configurations it's quite noticeable. Take a look at the rear shelf in the ion. It's very robust. The fixed glass also add rigidity. A hatchback chassis will be much more flexible and have questionable side impact protection IMO. That flexibility translates into more squeaks and rattles. Plus all the noise generated by the muffler and suspension has direct path to the occupants. Americans are obsessed with the feel and refinement. That's more difficult to deliver in a hatch.
I totally disagree. Tell that to Jaguar, the new XK is a hatchback, and they wouldn't allow a noisy, flexible Jag. Or the VW Golf, GTI, Audi A3, Porsche Cayman, Ford Focus ZX3, Toyota Prius, Scions, Saab 9-3 SportCombi, Chrysler Pacifica, and various others...and for that matter any wagon or 5 door car and most SUV's. They're all pretty much hatchbacks, just with the rear 'hatch' angle changed. And SUV's, or at least the smaller unibody ones, are rather like boxy hatchbacks. They're quiet, and they're safe, and Americans flock to them like they're going outta style, which I wish they would. I think everyone has remembered the 70's and 80's versions of hatchbacks. I realize that is your opinion, but I wonder how much of it is shaped by your previous experience with hatchbacks.

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Old 02-21-2006, 10:20 AM   #108
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdp326
In Europe hatchbacks/wagons rule, and sedan versions of many cars--particularly compacts and smaller--aren't popular.
Americans mainly don't like hatchbacks because they're set hard in their ways and are remember the hatches of the 70's.
Bingo.

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Old 02-21-2006, 10:08 PM   #109
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Europeans probably like hatchbacks for their shorter dimensions and easier parking. That's not generally a problem in the US.
Most SUVs are body on frame construction which results in much lower NHV without increasing stiffness so thier not a valid comparison. Ever see a typical ladder frame pickup off-road? The cab and box can easily be misaligned by an inch in extreme twisting maneuvers.
I owned a Saab 99 2 door and 900 hatch at the same time. The 900 was only a front end styling and interior upgrade from the 99. Whenever I jacked up the 900 hatch at the front jack point, the body flexed so much the door wouldn't shut. Just as stiff? I don't think so.
A simple demonstration of the problem is a long slender cardboard box. With the ends securely taped, it's quite stiff. Cut the center 95% out and suddenly it's a another story. There is no practical way to stiffen the open end to the same degree it was when taped closed. It will require a stiffening ring with enormously more material than was cut off to even come close.
Everything bends, its just a question of how much. More triangulated structures such as trusses provide much more strength and rigidity for a given amount of material than long slender shapes. As an ex-aeropace engineer I feel much more comfortable with the side impact protection of the quad coupe than I would with a hatch.
And a final note to hatchback drivers. I hope you are securing your cargo properly with straps/cargo net everytime . In a rollover or severe accident everything back there is a potential loose projectile in the passenger cabin .

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Old 02-21-2006, 10:17 PM   #110
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarNut
Most SUVs are body on frame construction which results in much lower NHV without increasing stiffness so thier not a valid comparison. : .
I guess the dog stole your newspaper carnut. BOF construction among SUVs is now in the minority. That minority percentage is dcroping quickly too. The new Ford Explorer is doing poorly and there is talk of closing GM's Moraine plant where the Chevy Trailblazer and GMC Envoy are built.

There is little sense talking of body stiffness using vehicles of the past. Giant strides have been made in this area. See the ION for example.

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Old 02-22-2006, 09:51 AM   #111
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

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Originally Posted by haypops
I guess the dog stole your newspaper carnut. BOF construction among SUVs is now in the minority. That minority percentage is dcroping quickly too. The new Ford Explorer is doing poorly and there is talk of closing GM's Moraine plant where the Chevy Trailblazer and GMC Envoy are built.

There is little sense talking of body stiffness using vehicles of the past. Giant strides have been made in this area. See the ION for example.
Amen.
Using a long slender cardboard box and cutting out 95% of the sides would not prove torsional superiority of a vehicle with no B pillar either. That's just silliness.And doing it long ways proves nothing as well. It proves only the torsional capabilities of cardboard. And having BOTH sides of the car wide open without any mid section support of the unibody frame seems comedic when discussing the relative "safety" of a hatchback. And since we're using old style engineering practices to assess modern vehicles, the hard tops of the 60s and 70s had no B pillar either, much the same as the QC and had dubious torsional stiffness. Using that logic I would much rather be in an Astra hatchback than a QC in a side accident.
No one is cutting out 95% of the roof of a car to build a hatchback. They don't cut and patch any longer.
And Saab is known for their robust cars AND their hatchbacks [and their aero engineers]. And their SAFETY.To extrapolate that a hatchback is not as safe and that's why people do not buy them is simply bizarre with all due respect. I would like to see the data on that.

Last edited by Citation84; 02-22-2006 at 10:05 AM..

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Old 02-22-2006, 10:33 AM   #112
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarNut
Europeans probably like hatchbacks for their shorter dimensions and easier parking. That's not generally a problem in the US.
Most SUVs are body on frame construction which results in much lower NHV without increasing stiffness so thier not a valid comparison. Ever see a typical ladder frame pickup off-road? The cab and box can easily be misaligned by an inch in extreme twisting maneuvers.
I owned a Saab 99 2 door and 900 hatch at the same time. The 900 was only a front end styling and interior upgrade from the 99. Whenever I jacked up the 900 hatch at the front jack point, the body flexed so much the door wouldn't shut. Just as stiff? I don't think so.
A simple demonstration of the problem is a long slender cardboard box. With the ends securely taped, it's quite stiff. Cut the center 95% out and suddenly it's a another story. There is no practical way to stiffen the open end to the same degree it was when taped closed. It will require a stiffening ring with enormously more material than was cut off to even come close.
Everything bends, its just a question of how much. More triangulated structures such as trusses provide much more strength and rigidity for a given amount of material than long slender shapes. As an ex-aeropace engineer I feel much more comfortable with the side impact protection of the quad coupe than I would with a hatch.
And a final note to hatchback drivers. I hope you are securing your cargo properly with straps/cargo net everytime . In a rollover or severe accident everything back there is a potential loose projectile in the passenger cabin .
Europeans like hatchbacks because they are versatile and have better gas mileage than the SUV's we love so much. You don't like hatchbacks, that's fine, just say so, but you can't compare the ones of yesterday with the ones of today. The current breed of hatchback is light years ahead of the cheapies sold here in the 70's and 80's, and they are just as safe as their sedan counterparts. It's a proven fact. European crash tests are more severe than ours (when is the last time you heard of GM doing an elk impact test? Or sideways into a utility pole?) so I feel confident that they'll hold up well. I think there are like what, 3 or 4 SUV's that use body on frame construction. Out of a field of 30 or more SUV's that's nothing.

Oh, and for the SUV owners, make sure you secure your rear mounted cargo too. Cargo straps: They aren't just for hatchbacks anymore.....

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Last edited by saturn_69; 02-22-2006 at 10:43 AM..

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Old 02-22-2006, 10:50 AM   #113
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

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Originally Posted by Citation84
I would think that a QC having no mid section door posts would be at least as "unsafe" as a hatchback. The "B" pillar is equally as important as the C and a hatch back would still have BOTH. There's nothing on the sides in a QC. That doesn't make me feel very "safe". And that's what it boils down to: conjecture and supposition, not anything to do with an actual fact. The QC does fine in side impact ratings.So would any modern hatchback, especially as the opening around the hatch would need to be reinforced to carry the body/frame strength of the -unit body.
And it was shown in court that the Pinto was no more prone statistically to fires in rear crashes than the Dodge Colt, Chevy Vega, AMC Gremlin, etc.But I am still glad that the old way of doing things is done with. I wouldn't worry about being less "safe" in a modern hatchback.
The reason people don't find them attractive today is that they sort of got the image of being "dorkmobiles". It was less refinement worries than "image" and ego problems.They just weren't "cool" to be seen in, and that stigma remains.It would be interesting to find what the age co-hort of the people thinking a hatchback would be desireable as opposed to those who would not be caught dead in one. They're no longer your father's hatchback ????
Of course no one worried about that with the 3rd generation [1982- 199??]Camaro and it's hatch.
Well said. I forgot about the Camaro. The 70's Pinto explosions were right up with there with the self-accelerating Audis of the 80's: urban car legends that refuse to die. A friend of a cousin whose sister dated a guy whose Mom's Aunt had a neighbor who was BBQ'd when her Pinto was rear-ended by a 10 speed Schwinn......yeah, okay. I'd rather have a hatchback than a sedan, but that's just me. It'd give me the utility when I needed it and the passenger capacity when I didn't, all in one smaller, more fuel efficient and stylish package. The box on wheels SUV craze needs to go.

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Old 02-22-2006, 11:26 AM   #114
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Regarding the ION quad coupe; doesn't it have a virtual B- piller? When the doors are closed the stiffining of the doors and the latches on the floor and roof combine to form a functioning B piller.

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Old 02-22-2006, 01:59 PM   #115
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

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Originally Posted by haypops
Regarding the ION quad coupe; doesn't it have a virtual B- piller? When the doors are closed the stiffining of the doors and the latches on the floor and roof combine to form a functioning B piller.
Of course it does. It has no problem meeting all safety requirements and neither would a modern hatchback.The safety concern is unfounded.
Additionally hatchbacks today use a cargo cover unlike the Monza 2+2s and Pintos and Hornets of the 70s.So no problem letting things flop around back there. You'd have to do that for any vehicle that had the seat folded down and was carrying cargo.
The Scion TC is a hatchback.It looks great. Like a Saturn QC IMHO.

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Old 02-22-2006, 10:23 PM   #116
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Well I'm sorry I bothered to offer any other viewpoint than "Europeans are more enlightened, make better choices, and have much higher standards than Americans". I'm sorry I even attempted to offer a simple engineering analogy. And there are so many ridiculous assertions in the past few threads its clear I'd be wasting even more time than I already have to offer any rebuttals. People believe what they want to believe. After all, I refuse to assume anything American is crap.

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Old 02-23-2006, 12:58 AM   #117
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

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. After all, I refuse to assume anything American is crap.
I assume you meant that you refuse to believe enerything American is crap? Surely something American is crap? How about Michale Jackson?

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Old 02-23-2006, 03:51 AM   #118
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarNut
Well I'm sorry I bothered to offer any other viewpoint than "Europeans are more enlightened, make better choices, and have much higher standards than Americans". I'm sorry I even attempted to offer a simple engineering analogy. And there are so many ridiculous assertions in the past few threads its clear I'd be wasting even more time than I already have to offer any rebuttals. People believe what they want to believe. After all, I refuse to assume anything American is crap.
I don't think that Europeans have higher standards than Americans, but I think that cars seem to be marketed differently between Europe and America. I think that the apparent "dumbing down" of cars sold in America reflects the fact that American car companies target their marketing strategies to the largest group of customers, which forces a sort of lowest common denominator effect on the fun aspects of a car (performance, handling, etc.) European car companies are more likely to try to market a sporty fun little car to the general population, where as in America we tend to aim for the soccer-mom set because it represents a large section of the car-buying population. We have fun sporty little cars in the US too, but they're just lower priority than SUV's, as far as American car companies are concerned. I think it's just cultural.

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Old 02-23-2006, 10:11 AM   #119
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarNut
Well I'm sorry I bothered to offer any other viewpoint than "Europeans are more enlightened, make better choices, and have much higher standards than Americans". I'm sorry I even attempted to offer a simple engineering analogy. And there are so many ridiculous assertions in the past few threads its clear I'd be wasting even more time than I already have to offer any rebuttals. People believe what they want to believe. After all, I refuse to assume anything American is crap.
How do you make this leap of logic? You are ill informed about modern hatchbacks. No one is saying "everything european" is superior.
No one said anything American is crap. Where do you get this???
Don't be offended. You are comparing 70s hatch backs with modern vehicles and suggesting that a hatch back may be more "unsafe" is ridiculous to put it politely. You have NO data to back that up, you proved nothing with your cardboard box demonstration. Don't take it out on us because your opinion was found to be based on inaccurate out of date information and rank supposition.A "feeling" as it were. Not based in any sort of reality.
I doubt the relative safety was ever even considered by people in the market for a hatchback.Not even an issue. Because there is no evidence that this body style is any less safe than any other except your claim that it's so. And no one here was rude in the way they presented their opinions.
To put it plainly: Any hatchback that was produced here or offered here in the US would have to meet the same federal crash standards as any other car.And it is ironic that you would be so concerned about driving a hatchback while your own QC is without a B pillar [albeit it has a "virtual" one] itself. So using your logic it must be less safe than a standard ION sedan. I was being absurd to demonstrate your absurd thinking. It has obviously been engineered to meet all federal crash standards.As would any hatchback sold here in the US, homegrown or imported.

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Old 02-23-2006, 11:26 AM   #120
Citation84
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2005 ION-1 Sedan
Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Additionally:I did the cardboard box test. [Being the UN-PC old curmudgeon that I am I used a cigarette carton,btw]
Yes cutting 95 % of the top out will weaken the structure. But CARS ARE NOT BUILT THAT WAY.They have an A pillar a B pillar and a C pillar even in a hatchback.
When you cut 25% to one third of the top as in what would represent a hatch, and more realistically the proportion of hatch to vehicle,similar to the way a car is actually built there is very little difference in the strength of the box. Even when you cut half way down the back vertically and across, to mimic the rear end opening of a vehicle, where the hatch meets the rear frame there is little structural difference. To assume the engineers would not compensate for this is just foolish.By the time the car made it to production there would be very little if any lack of integrity. Again: this is not the 70s!!!
And if there was any slight loss of structural integrity, there certainly would not the sort to engender fear, misguided concern, and to justify spreading mis information [opinion masquerading as fact].The VW New Beetle is a hatch and one of the best small cars in crash results.
Your offense at OTHER'S opinions is insulting when you have been mistaken about SUVs being body on frame,that the group has been engaging in America bashing, assuming hatchbacks are still being built with wide open cargo areas as well as flimsy construction,and assuming there would be a tremendous effect on structural integrity of a hatchback over a sedan by cutting away 95% of the top a long slender cardboard box. And your concern over side impact protection [especially when you are driving a QC] of a hatchback is not backed up by any sort of statistical data.And none of them were as rude to you as you have been with your last post.
And some of the WORST ideas of the 20th Century came from Europe: [Naziism, collectivism, communism, etc.]so don't go there. No one said anything of the sort about Europe being so superior.Our auto execs and the decisions they make DUMB. People on this thread seem to LIKE this car and want to see it here. Period. They're not going to build a car that cannot meet all US safety standards and many times have to UPGRADE to meet ours.That they have equal or better standards is not America bashing, it may simply be fact. Get a grip.

Last edited by Citation84; 02-23-2006 at 11:38 AM..

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