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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 02-17-2006, 12:53 PM   #81
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gkl
Opel Astra would become the smallest Saturn ever. Only 169 inches long. 3dr/5dr, just a bit shorter than the Matrix/Vibe so it will compete directly with them and the Subaru Impreza/Saab 9-3x. And the Optra hatch.

It may be good for small/young/single people on a budget, but it is no Ion replacement. With no Ion, there will be a pretty large gap between Astra and Aura.
It doesn't sound that small. It HAS to have a larger interior that the orignial SC coupe. That thing is for all practical purposes a two seater. Personally, I would love to see the Astra come here as a hatch back. I think my SC2 would be perfect if it had a hatch. They are just so much more convenient to load and unload. I can't understand why so many Americans are opposed to hatchbacks. They can be styled to look like coupes, but you can actually fit things in them. What a concept! I don't see a big gap between the Aura and Astra either. Even if it is smaller, an Astra with a hatch would be much more suited to young families than an Ion sedan.

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Old 02-17-2006, 03:13 PM   #82
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanky
It doesn't sound that small. It HAS to have a larger interior that the orignial SC coupe. That thing is for all practical purposes a two seater. Personally, I would love to see the Astra come here as a hatch back. I think my SC2 would be perfect if it had a hatch. They are just so much more convenient to load and unload. I can't understand why so many Americans are opposed to hatchbacks. They can be styled to look like coupes, but you can actually fit things in them. What a concept! I don't see a big gap between the Aura and Astra either. Even if it is smaller, an Astra with a hatch would be much more suited to young families than an Ion sedan.
See Saturn_69's posts above for interior dimensions - the Astra hatch interior is similar to the Ion and SL - it likely has more room in the back than the SC. The extra 16 inches they chopped off the Astra is what should have been a cargo area. If you look at the pictures you can see the rear seat positioned right at the back of the Astra. That's my main beef - hatches with token cargo area. I have absolutely nothing against wagons, i.e. a hatch with serious cargo area. If there were such thing as an Ion wagon, I'd have one.

When the family and I were young, we had a hatch with just enough room in the back for 3 bags of groceries, or a stroller, but not both. What a PITA. We got a sedan asap.

YMMV, but you won't catch me in a hatch where the rear passengers are sitting in the crumple zone, practically over the gas tank.
Anyone remember the Ford Pinto?

Last edited by gkl; 02-17-2006 at 03:21 PM..

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Old 02-17-2006, 03:57 PM   #83
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gkl
See Saturn_69's posts above for interior dimensions - the Astra hatch interior is similar to the Ion and SL - it likely has more room in the back than the SC. The extra 16 inches they chopped off the Astra is what should have been a cargo area. If you look at the pictures you can see the rear seat positioned right at the back of the Astra. That's my main beef - hatches with token cargo area. I have absolutely nothing against wagons, i.e. a hatch with serious cargo area. If there were such thing as an Ion wagon, I'd have one.

When the family and I were young, we had a hatch with just enough room in the back for 3 bags of groceries, or a stroller, but not both. What a PITA. We got a sedan asap.

YMMV, but you won't catch me in a hatch where the rear passengers are sitting in the crumple zone, practically over the gas tank.
Anyone remember the Ford Pinto?
The rear seats fold down if you need the cargo room, and as for the rear passengers sitting over the gas tank....go look under any FWD car on the market. Bingo. The rear seat is over the gas tank. On 90% of them.

What kind of hatchback did you have that was either 3 bags of groceries or a stroller but not both? My 2nd car was a hatchback and I could fit 6 bags of groceries AND a stroller in it. Okay, I didn't have a stroller then, but I took my Mom to the store and we brought home 6 grocery bags - the paper kind, not the little new age mesh or plastic ones, the kind made out of trees - and 2 20# bags of dogfood. It was a '78 Pontiac Sunbird hatchback, and my brother was in the back seat so no, I didn't cheat and fold the seat down (remember when they didn't split 50/50?).

Oh, btw. As far as crumple zones go, that little moving panel next to you...you know...the door. Yeah. That's a crumple zone and it's only about 5 or 6 inches thick.

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Old 02-17-2006, 06:26 PM   #84
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by saturn_69
The rear seats fold down if you need the cargo room, and as for the rear passengers sitting over the gas tank....go look under any FWD car on the market. Bingo. The rear seat is over the gas tank. On 90% of them.

What kind of hatchback did you have that was either 3 bags of groceries or a stroller but not both? My 2nd car was a hatchback and I could fit 6 bags of groceries AND a stroller in it. Okay, I didn't have a stroller then, but I took my Mom to the store and we brought home 6 grocery bags - the paper kind, not the little new age mesh or plastic ones, the kind made out of trees - and 2 20# bags of dogfood. It was a '78 Pontiac Sunbird hatchback, and my brother was in the back seat so no, I didn't cheat and fold the seat down (remember when they didn't split 50/50?).

Oh, btw. As far as crumple zones go, that little moving panel next to you...you know...the door. Yeah. That's a crumple zone and it's only about 5 or 6 inches thick.
OK, so when I fold the rear seats down, what do I do with the child seats, not to mention the kids in them? The other poster specifically said Astra was better than Ion for young families. I respectfully disagree.

FWIW, the hatch we had was an 80ish Mazda. Can't remember whether the rear seats split, but there wasn't much room back there anyway.

You have a point about side door crumple zones. If you are hit on the side at high speed you are pretty much toast in any small car. However, I believe most high speed collisions involve rear/front impact.

Not all gas tanks are under the rear seats. But when it is under there, at least it's not in the rear crumple zone for a sedan or wagon.

I don't know what they've done if anything to avoid rear-end ignition in the Mazda 3/Vibe/Matrix/Astra, but having seen what happens to a Pinto when its rear-ended, I really don't want to find out the hard way.

Anyway, the issue here is the Astra hatch. I have no problem whatsoever with the thing if it has a decent size cargo space between the bumper and the rear seats. If it does, or if Saturn adapts the design to include one, then I'd look at it seriously.

However, just looking at those pictures of the Astra, I can see the rear seats rammed up against the hatch. Of course I'm making a judgement call here and your view may be different - but given the exterior/interior specs I can't see the Astra having much useful cargo space while carrying 4 passengers, and as we all know, seating people in a crumple zone has not been the Saturn way.

As usual, just my $0.02. YMMV.

Last edited by gkl; 02-17-2006 at 06:40 PM..

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Old 02-17-2006, 06:39 PM   #85
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

The more GM Imports, the lower the reason to have any loyalty to them. If They want to Import them Call them GEO's.

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Old 02-17-2006, 08:09 PM   #86
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

the 07 ions will be on the opel platform, and totaly redesigned from the ground up and no more gauges in the middle of the dash

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Old 02-17-2006, 11:23 PM   #87
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick_97SC2
I say build it in America and not import it.
yes yes

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Old 02-18-2006, 09:51 AM   #88
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by saturn_69
Wasn't the Vega/Astre related to the Opel Manta of the early 70's? Also, let's not forget the Chevette (Opel Kadett) and the Pontiac LeMans of the late 80's-early 90's (also an Opel Kadett). Not to mention the Opel GT, the design of which was used to shape the late 70's Corvette.
Actually,there was nothing of the Opel in the Vega, except perhaps the manual transmission. And of course GM may have studied the Kadett for design purposes.The Manta came later than the Vega. If not by much then too close to have had any influence on Chevrolet's decision making. The design for the Vega was being laid down in late 1968.
And the Opel GT followed the styling of the Corvette which came out in 1968 featuring all the cues Opel used in it's GT, not the other way around. There was much comment at the time that the Opel GT looked so much like the Corvette but in 2/3rds scale.
The original styling was from the Mako Shark Corvette show car of the mid 60s that has pretty much been the template for all Corvettes since.

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Old 02-18-2006, 10:01 AM   #89
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Citation84
Actually,there was nothing of the Opel in the Vega, except perhaps the manual transmission. And of course GM may have studied the Kadett for design purposes.The Manta came later than the Vega. If not by much then too close to have had any influence on Chevrolet's decision making. The design for the Vega was being laid down in late 1968.
And the Opel GT followed the styling of the Corvette which came out in 1968 featuring all the cues Opel used in it's GT, not the other way around. There was much comment at the time that the Opel GT looked so much like the Corvette but in 2/3rds scale.
The original styling was from the Mako Shark Corvette show car of the mid 60s that has pretty much been the template for all Corvettes since.
I thought that the Chevette was based on a South American GM auto design and that the late 80's early 90's Pontiac Lemans was a Daewoo vehicle. Also, wasn't the Saturn L series basically a rebadged Opel?

As for the Astra, I am all for whatever will get Saturn sales and market share up. I'm sure that rebadging Opels and selling them as Saturns will save money for GM. The 2 potential downsides, IMO, are that the price of these vehicles will be higher than their respective predecessors and you have the problem of quality when it comes to European cars.

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Old 02-18-2006, 10:28 AM   #90
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikec
I thought that the Chevette was based on a South American GM auto design and that the late 80's early 90's Pontiac Lemans was a Daewoo vehicle. Also, wasn't the Saturn L series basically a rebadged Opel?

As for the Astra, I am all for whatever will get Saturn sales and market share up. I'm sure that rebadging Opels and selling them as Saturns will save money for GM. The 2 potential downsides, IMO, are that the price of these vehicles will be higher than their respective predecessors and you have the problem of quality when it comes to European cars.
The Chevette was what was called GM's T Car. Essentially an Opel that was built all over the world [and in South America] and even in Japan [Isuzu Gmini IIRC]. The LeMans was an Opel design built in Korea by GM/Daewoo and rebadged as a Pontiac.
GM had an interest in Daewoo for a long time before it went independent, expanded too fast and collapsed, leaving the door wide open for purchase of a majority interest in the automotive arm by a consortium of GM/Suzuki/and Korean bankers and financiers.That did not include Daewoo US which is why you see the product branded Chevrolet or Suzuki here in the US. There have been legal actions taken against GM by former Daewoo dealers wanting GM to pay them off as well, but the deal specifically excluded any interest in Daewoo US.
I have the same concerns as you do about the quality [said to be getting better, though, as reported by Saturn69] and the cost, effects of the exchange rates on base prices,costs of shipping etc.Labor and legacy costs are as great in Germany as they are here [except health but SOMEONE pays for it], I cannot see the benefit to GM unless it is a way to keep a small car in the pipeline until production capability here is possible.
Hopefully as Saturn 69 has predicted the first ones will be imported, but only for a year or so, then eventually built here. No one knows what Line 1 [ION production currently] @ Spring Hill is being re-tooled FOR. A Saturn Astra built @ Spring Hill would be the ideal outcome IMHO.

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Old 02-18-2006, 01:25 PM   #91
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Here are some specs for the Astra 1.8L from street-car.net:

Vauxhall/Opel Astra 1.8
(2004-to date)

FUEL TYPE: petrol (gasoline)
ENGINE CAPACITY: 1796cc
CYLINDERS: In-line 4
VALVES: 16
POWER: 123bhp
TORQUE: 125 lb-ft
DRIVEN WHEELS: front (FWD)
STANDARD TRANSMISSION: 5-speed manual
OPTIONAL TRANSMISSION: 4-speed automatic
BODY STYLES: 3/5-door hatchback, estate (wagon)
SEATING CAPACITY: 5

MAXIMUM SPEED: 123mph
0-60: 10.1 seconds
AVERAGE FUEL ECONOMY: 36mpg

LENGTH: hatchback: 4249mm [167.3 in]
estate: 4515mm [177.8 in]
WIDTH: 1753mm [69.0 in]
HEIGHT: 1467mm [57.8 in]
WHEELBASE: 2614mm [102.9 in]
KERB WEIGHT: hatchback: 1203kg [2650lbs]
estate: 1231kg [2711lbs]

CO2 EMISSIONS: 185 g/km
UK INSURANCE GROUP: 6-8
EURO NCAP CRASH TEST RATING: 5 stars
US NCAP (NHTSA) CRASH TEST RATING: not applicable


Keep in mind that we use different gallons in the US than Europe. As for length, the wagon (estate) would be about the length of a sedan if they were to do one. Keep in mind that we have different bumper standards here also, so it the length would likely change some. (For example, the Mazda 5 is about 177" in Europe, and 181" in the US.) The length of the hatchback is close to the Ford Focus hatch, both US and European models.
The Astra would also set Saturn up for the Zafira mini-minivan (think Mazda 5). The Zafira is based on the Astra.

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Old 02-18-2006, 05:37 PM   #92
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

I could see Saturn having somthing to give the Mazda5 competition. A friend of mine has a Mazda5, and just loves the thing. But he would never even consder buy anything domestic

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Old 02-18-2006, 07:28 PM   #93
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

The Saturn brand needs competitive products that people want to buy if it is to survive. Assembly in the US is a possible option.

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Old 02-18-2006, 10:03 PM   #94
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uzzy
Anyway Chevy re-badges 4 Daewoos currently in Canada. The terrible looking Aveo (aka Pontiac Wave, and Suzuki Swift?) The Optra (sedan and wagon), the differently styled Optra5 5-door hatch (that one isn't too bad looking I'm a little ashamed to say ) and the previous Impala rip-off Chevy Epica. Small cars are King here in the Great White North. Why do you think Pontiac dealers FREAKED when there was no Sunfire replacement? Hence the Pontiac Pursuit mentioned in the article Charlie referenced at the beginning of this thread.
IMO,

Optra is essentially a spiritual successor of daewoo nubira and probably a daewoo lanos
http://www.gmcanada.com/english/vehi...ptra/index.jsp

Chevy Epica is a rebadged Daewoo Leganza (remember those?)
http://www.gmcanada.com/english/vehi...c_gall_ext.jsp

I will never touch daewoos even with a nine foot pole... not because they are korean but they were really cheap looking.

On the other hand, I love opel designs and wouldnt mind those.. In fact, I'd say bring opels as is... (not because of bias towards european makes .. they just look real nice) Astra is world famous and has been around in many parts of the globe. Vectra is less known...

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Old 02-18-2006, 10:38 PM   #95
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Default Re: Yes!

Yes. Looks good.

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Old 02-18-2006, 11:21 PM   #96
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by marmaduke
IMO,

Optra is essentially a spiritual successor of daewoo nubira and probably a daewoo lanos
http://www.gmcanada.com/english/vehi...ptra/index.jsp

Chevy Epica is a rebadged Daewoo Leganza (remember those?)
http://www.gmcanada.com/english/vehi...c_gall_ext.jsp
Chevy aveo is a rebadged daewoo kalos...

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Old 02-19-2006, 01:56 PM   #97
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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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Old 02-20-2006, 10:01 AM   #98
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gkl
OK, so when I fold the rear seats down, what do I do with the child seats, not to mention the kids in them? The other poster specifically said Astra was better than Ion for young families. I respectfully disagree.

FWIW, the hatch we had was an 80ish Mazda. Can't remember whether the rear seats split, but there wasn't much room back there anyway.

You have a point about side door crumple zones. If you are hit on the side at high speed you are pretty much toast in any small car. However, I believe most high speed collisions involve rear/front impact.

Not all gas tanks are under the rear seats. But when it is under there, at least it's not in the rear crumple zone for a sedan or wagon.

I don't know what they've done if anything to avoid rear-end ignition in the Mazda 3/Vibe/Matrix/Astra, but having seen what happens to a Pinto when its rear-ended, I really don't want to find out the hard way.

Anyway, the issue here is the Astra hatch. I have no problem whatsoever with the thing if it has a decent size cargo space between the bumper and the rear seats. If it does, or if Saturn adapts the design to include one, then I'd look at it seriously.

However, just looking at those pictures of the Astra, I can see the rear seats rammed up against the hatch. Of course I'm making a judgement call here and your view may be different - but given the exterior/interior specs I can't see the Astra having much useful cargo space while carrying 4 passengers, and as we all know, seating people in a crumple zone has not been the Saturn way.

As usual, just my $0.02. YMMV.
Uh, if you need the cargo room in a sedan with folding rear seats, where do you put the kids? If your'e running to Home Depot to get something you'll need the seats down to carry, why would you bring the kids? Hatchbacks and sedans with folding rear seats pose the same cargo vs. passenger dilemma, only with a hatchback, you can put taller stuff in the car and it's easier to get stuff in and out. Only in rear wheel drive cars are the gas tanks located (although only in older platforms like the Crown Vic) between the rear axle and the bumper, ala Pinto, Vega, etc., so as not to be a rolling bomb. That's 80's tech. BMW has a gas tank that stradles the rear differential, as does Mercedes, Chrysler and most any other company that makes rear drive cars. As for front wheel drive cars, the gas tank is under the rear seat, with the spare tire wells and flat trunk floos, there is no where else to put it in a FWD car. I actually can't think of any modern car that places the gas tank between the rear bumper and the rear axle assembly. If you're worried about impact ignition (which doesn't happen often), don't buy a Porsche. The gas tank is in the front, like the old Beetle, and frontal collisions happen more often than rear collisions.

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Old 02-20-2006, 03:54 PM   #99
rret
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

build the same car here so Americans have jobs.
then i would buy one.

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Old 02-20-2006, 04:41 PM   #100
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Default Re: Should GM Import the Opel Astra from Europe as Saturn's Next Small Car?

This may have been covered already (here or elsewhere) but would the ION production continue for a short while into the 2007 MY?

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