With a financial crisis ravaging the European automotive industry, many automakers have tightened budgets, and motorsports programs have, in many cases, been among the first things to go. That's the case at Ford and Mini, but it's the opposite at Opel, which announced its return to motorsports in the form of spec series for two very fun-looking hatchbacks.
General Motors is recalling some 426,240 sedans that may have a faulty transmission shift cable, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report this morning. The recall concerns a fault within four-speed automatic transmissions equipped on 2007-2010 Saturn Aura models, and 2008-2010 Chevrolet Malibu and Pontiac G6 models.
Trying to make the best of a nasty situation for everyone involved, Opel has reportedly worked out an agreement with its Works Council and the IG Metall union to reduce working hours at two of its plants. From the end of September until the end of the year, there will be 20 days of short shifts and short working days for two Opel facilities: the Rüsselsheim factory that builds the Insignia and Astra and the Kaiserslautern component plant. About half of the 13,800 Rüsselsheim employees
European automakers offer some tempting hot hatches, but the stark reality of gas prices that are even higher across the pond than they are here in the United States dictates that most buyers are opting for diesels. Vauxhall is here to say, however, that it doesn't have to be one or the other.
The Opel Astra notchback sedan has completed its round-the-world trip. General Motors has based its latest compact on the Delta II platform. Designed by its studios in the U.S. and Asia, it was first sold as the Chinese-market Buick Excelle GT and then in the U.S. as the Buick Verano. Now it joins the Astra five-door hatch, Astra wagon and three-door Astra GTC as the fourth member of the lineup, going on sale later this month in European markets.
We ogled the curvaceous Opel Astra GTC at Frankfurt, but this is the one we've really been waiting for: The OPC version. Standing for Opel Performance Center, "OPC" is similar to the Honda "Type R" or BMW "M" nomenclature, although not nearly as well known. The 2012 Astra OPC could change that in a hurry.
A more engaging driving experience should always be considered a wonderful thing, and it's clear from the Astra GTC that Opel agrees. The compact hatchback has its sights set squarely on the Volkswagen Scirocco, and it's clear the two cars share a common design ideology. Low and sleek, the Astra GTC has been styled to provide enthusiasts with a sneak peek of the driving experience waiting once they strap in behind the wheel.
The new Vauxhall Astra – or something or someone claiming to be the new Vauxhall Astra – has co-written a book on driving manners. The other co-writer is Debrett's, an English version of Miss Manners except that Debrett's has been dispensing etiquette advice for more than 200 years, long before Miss Manners' was even a zygote.
You've seen the dealer commercials before. "Now is the time to buy.... year end sale!" Well, if you want the Pontiac or Saturn of your dreams, this really is the best ever time to deal because it's literally the last chance to get a new vehicle from these brands. The Wall Street Journal reports that General Motors is offering dealers $7,000 in cash for each new Saturn or Pontiac model sold until the deal ends January 4. Edmunds reportedly told the WSJ that it expects GM will have about 4,200 Sat