GM has a huge hit in the current generation Opel Astra, and the General is well into the development of a replacement for the compact hatch too keep the good times a-rollin. The next-generation Astra will likely be made in multiple locations for markets like the US and it will be one of 13 global products to ride on an updated Delta platform. If the Opel E-Flex concept ever hits production, it may not be alone. A GM engineer told Automobilwoche that the next Opel Astra will also employ hybrid technology, which would give the small car Prius-like mileage. Saab may also be getting a small hybrid from the same platform, with the US market a near definite.
The US is just getting the Saturn version of the Astra this fall, and we in the States will get the newer version of the Opel's little hit, too. The success of the Euro Astra makes its Saturn twin the best small car effort GM has made in years, and North America's largest automaker will likely pull out all the stops to make sure the hatchback hits its target. Since the newest Saturn hasn't even launched yet, it's premature for GM to announce hybrids on the next-generation architecture. We're hoping battery power is part of the general's North American plans, but since the US is much more receptive to hybrids than Europe, the green powerplant makes too much sense not to duplicate here in the States.
[Source: Automotive News (sub. req'd)]