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Baby's Got Back: Opel Astra Sedan goes public in Istanbul

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The big deal about the new Opel Astra sedan we told you about earlier last month is that it does, in fact, have a full, traditional derriere (all the other Astras have hatches). The Astra With A Real Trunk made its formal debut Saturday at the Istanbul Motor show, and the whole presentation was about the car's butt. So much so that when the Astra Sedan was announced to those gathered around the Opel display, it backed onto the stage. You know, just in case people forgot what a trunk looks like. Ok, we kid. The fact is, that notchback body with trunk is the thing that sets the Astra sedan apart from its siblings, so why not lead with it?

Naturally, GM surrounded it with bikini-clad dancing girls, ensuring that all eyes in the room would be aimed in the car's direction even if they weren't necessarily analyzing the car.

The Astra Sedan will be produced in Poland and be sold primarily to the Eastern European market, where that traditional bodystyle is more popular than the hatches favored in other regions. I still believe that, given the American consumer's taste for sedans, we'll see this in some form here in the US after GM brings the Astra over to kick Saturn's current Ion to the curb.

(Press release, additional photos after the jump)

[Source: GM]

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The world's first reverse reveal

Opel is backing up new Astra sedan

Istanbul. Opel is back into the compact sedan market. And it backed up its new entry, the Astra Sedan, at its world premiere at the Istanbul motor show yesterday with two company firsts: General Motors has never before premiered a new car in Turkey. And it never before drove it on stage in reverse. Friedhelm Engler, chief designer compact cars at General Motors Design Europe, said climbing out of the back seat of the Astra: "We are back in the market of compact sedans with the new Astra. And its back is what it's all about. It gives ample space for the luggage of a family of five and shows the versatility of the Astra architecture." Standing back to back to the new car, Engler also explained: "Using the longer wheelbase Astra Caravan as base, the new Astra Sedan also has lots of legroom in the back, as I just experienced."

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.

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