• Oct 20, 2006
Click to enlarge

OK, time to have some fun and speculate. We already know that the Opel Astra will appear here in the US as the next Saturn Ion. Until now, Astra was available only as a hatchback, wagon, and C+C, all of which are appealing to the eye, and an improvement over the current mess wearing the Ion badge by several orders of magnitude.

We also know that for the American market, automakers insist on offering their small cars in notchback sedan form in addition to (or instead of) the other body styles. This is where the Astra/Ion saga gets interesting. Opel has unveiled a new Astra sedan for "growth markets," particularly Eastern Europe, where like the US, there is a demand for the notchbacks that don't get so much love in Western Europe, where hatches rule the roost.

The guys over at Autoblog Spanish immediately noted that this car and the Brazilian-market Chevrolet Vectra sedan are one and the same, so despite Opel releasing only two photos, we can show you what the car looks like from every angle. As small sedans go, it's quite good-looking. Much better than the Ford Focus and Nissan Versa notchbacks, if you ask us. So take a good look and familiarize yourself with this car.

We're willing to bet the farm you'll see this exact vehicle as the next Ion (assuming that remains the name). We just hope the General gives us the hatchback, too.

Related Items:
(Gallery, press release after the jump)

[Sources: Opel, Chevy Brazil via Autoblog Spanish]


GALLERY
Click images to enlarge

New Opel Astra Sedan:

Astra InteriorAstra Interior
Note: Astra 5-door interior shown

2007 Chevrolet Vectra (Brazil)





PRESS RELEASE:

Opel Astra: New Four-Door Sedan Targets Growing Markets

# Central and Eastern Europe: Additional body style for successful Astra range
# Production at Gliwice plant in Poland; Sales start in autumn 2007
# World premiere in Istanbul; Turkey important market

Rüsselsheim. Opel's elegant four-door Astra sedan makes its world premiere at the Istanbul Motor Show (November 3 − 12, 2006), becoming the fifth model in the bestselling Astra range alongside the five-door hatch, station wagon, three-door GTC and cabrio-coupé TwinTop variants. "This motor show is the largest in this region, and Turkey is also one of the most important sales markets for the classic compact sedan," says Alain Visser, Executive Director, European Marketing for Opel.

The Astra sedan will be produced in Gliwice, Poland, an ideal location to serve the Central and Eastern European markets for which the car has been primarily developed. The new model features a range of two gasoline and two diesel engines with output between 90 and 140 hp, and will go on sale in autumn 2007.

Notchback sedans are highly sought after in these strong, thriving markets. 67 percent of Turkish customers who purchase a compact class car, for example, choose a notchback model. In Russia, this figure is 65 percent and in Poland and South-East Europe the total is around 15 percent. With a share of approximately five percent, this body variant plays a less significant role in the compact class in Western Europe.

The new four-door sedan matches the special needs of Central and Eastern European customers while retaining the excellent characteristics of the current successful Astra range, which passed the one-million production mark last spring.

Sales of the Astra in Central and Eastern Europe rose by over 20 percent to 60,000 units in the first nine months of this year, compared to the same-year period of 2005, with more than 10,000 of these vehicles sold in Turkey alone. Opel expects additional growth in these markets with the launch of the four-door sedan.

The new sedan boasts the Astra's progressive, proportionally balanced design (length/width/height: 4618/1754/1458 mm), dynamic lines and characteristic driving dynamics, together with high safety reserves. The new model's designers adopted the long wheelbase from the station wagon (2703 mm) for generous space in the rear and a large luggage compartment (500 liters). Technological highlights from the Astra's extensive equipment range include innovations such as bi-xenon headlamps, Hill Start Assist (HSA), and the electric heater "Quickheat".

Opel continues a tradition with the new Astra notchback model, as both first-generation Astras were available with four doors and a large, separate luggage compartment.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 28 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      how will this work with Chevy and Pontiac?

      The Cobalt is based on the Astra, although GM managed to ugly-fy it :) If you look closely the doors for example are the same as the Asta (hatch). Having driven a Cobalt and a Astra in the UK,,,If they bring this over to North America is it going to be OK for the Saturn to be that much better?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Well, we have that Vectra here, it's a good car, just lacks a better engine and better plastics for the interior and a lower price tag, ehehehe.

      Making exactly the same car and giving another name across the ocean has only one name to me: no originality at all. GM Brazil already showed lack of originality when they did the Vectra with the same look of the Opel Astra. Now Opel shows the same lack of originality by taking the Vectra and turning it into an Astra Sedan.
      • 8 Years Ago
      So, how large is this car? It almost looks Fusion sized, but I am assuming its smaller than that? Either way, the car looks great. If they bring it in looking just like that, I think a lot of people will be happy.

      This may be the first decent small car offering GM has had in a long time.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Make this the Saturn ION and the Saturn line of cars will be a huge success IMO.

      Had a close look at the new Aura last week and I think it's the best moderately priced mid-sized car to come from GM in decades. Aura is a winner if it drives like it looks.

      Would like to see the Astra hatchback and sedan in the ION line. Those cars along with the VUE, SKY, and AURA make for a complete line of cars that'll draw most car shoppers to Saturn dealers. It's about time!



      • 8 Years Ago
      so much for my hopes in saturn... this thing is puke-a-licious... that whole roofline and those door panels just scream colbalt... take this back let's not speak of it again.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Looks like a fantastic little car. However, I think the Fusion is much better looking. More unique.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #10, The Brazilian Vectra is almost 9" smaller in length, almost 5" smaller in width and almost 2" taller than the Fusion. The wheelbase is also 1" smaller.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Hey #10,

      This is car is a little bit smaller than a Fusion, but is little bit bigger than a Ford Focus.

      Here in Brazil, it just inherited the name from it's bigger brother, because GM wouldn't lose the name, image and appeal that Vectra used to had. It would be our Astra Sedan that we always had, but instead of retire Vectra, instead, they give it another chance.

      And one thing: if the Ion will be imported from Europe, consider having the interior from european Astra, that is even better.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Per Honest Abe: "Are you trying to appeal to the older crowd when you make the bowtie 8" long on the front, back, and steering wheel?? I guess the ol geezers of the world can't see so good, so you have to identify your brand with them fellers right before they kick the bucket. For the rest of us 20/20 er's, it's easily identifiable and putrid all the way from the lower 40."

      ---------------------------
      Just wait! At about age 40 to 45 your silly ass will need bifocals after you start holding reading material so far from your goofy face that your arms won't stretch enough. And I hope you trip over yourself as you try to adjust to those much-needed bifocals, too!

      Celebrate your 20/20 while you have it, fella, 'cuz you ain't gonna have it forever.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The exterior could use some tweaking (I like the Sky inspired tail lights of the Aura), but it looks like someone at GM is finally getting the picture. This entry should give some added competition in the quality small car category of Civic, Mazda3, Jetta, Sentra et. al. (Ford USA, are you listening?).

      When Hyundai puts your design and quality to shame, you know you've got to make big changes!
      • 8 Years Ago
      I have a feeling that the US will be getting the hatcbacks. First, GM has already said that the US Astras will be imported from Belgium. The Belgium plant will not be manufacturing sedans, which are built in Turkey and Brazil. Also, GM has set low sales targets in the 20-25,000 range, also a sign that they plan the US Astra to be more a niche vehicle. Since the car will be imported from Europe, they won't be able to have much a price advantage. With a sedan, that can seriously hurt sales. However, despite the lower demand for hatcbacks in the US, combined with the low number of competitors, Saturn will be able to better compete with 3 and 5-door Astra, particullarly against the German-imported Rabbit and GTI, at the prices they will have to be sold at.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I bet this will arrive as-is. The Saturn Aura basically has the same front-end. Neat. I wish these cool smaller cars (especially the hatches) would get here soon. I need a new car!
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