The Saturn Astra represents a quantum leap forward for GM in the small car market. For a mere $100 million, which is chicken feed for a new product, the General traded in the uninspiring Ion for the European juggernaut Opel Astra. Many thought GM was merely buying time (literally) until a truly global Astra appears in 2010, since we've been told for years that it was too expensive (see: Focus) to retro-fit a Euro-car for the US Market. Maximum Bob has turned that paradigm upside down, as he explained that the spared development costs have netted GM savings of about $900 million. Of course, GM would probably never shell out $1 billion for a small car with a volume of 45,000 units per year, but since the General makes products all over the globe, it makes sense to sell the best cars and trucks wherever it can. If it helps keep your factories at full capacity while saving $900 million at the same time, than that's cool, too. Hey, if this is the new reality of automakers going global, we're all for it. Now Ford, bring on that Mondeo already!

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

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