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So...Saturn Astra anyone???

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So...Saturn Astra anyone???

Postby Aneab » Fri Feb 09, 2007 5:23 am

found this article for all you opel astra fans, i definately dig the astra. ... only-hope/

Saturn seems to be making all of the right decisions lately, and its new Sky roadster and Aura midsize sedan, plus its upcoming Outlook crossover are getting the right kind of attention as a result. What is it doing differently? What we have been hoping they would do all along: import the design language, and in some cases entire cars from GM’s German subsidiary, Opel.

The latest car to get be considered would be a surefire hit if Saturn chose to float it across the Atlantic en masse, Opel’s stylish new Astra as a replacement for the less than inspiring and poorly selling Ion. And why is the rumour mill agog with the possibility? Because Saturn has applied to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to use “Astra” as a vehicle name; although there’s an argument that it has only done so to stop another automaker from using the name.

Nevertheless, despite a previous announcement that would have GM developing a new model rumoured to get the “Evoke” nameplate with further rumours that production would get transferred from Saturn’s Spring Hill, Tennessee plant to one in Lordstown, Ohio, a move that would allow construction of an all-steel body rather than the plastic panels now used on the Ion, such plans have been scrapped.

And now that Saturn has announced that it has cancelled plans for its Ion replacement the rumour mill has run rampant, questioning what potential models could get the nod.

Opel Saturn Astra interior

“We’re exploring different alternatives,” Jill Lajdziak, Saturn general manager, told reporters recently at the New York auto show. “We’re not ready to talk about that today.”

The Evoke would have been based on the Chevrolet Cobalt/Pontiac G5 platform, with styling heavily influenced by the Opel brand. But now with this plan in the circular file cabinet, the Ion replacement could very well be a re-badged Opel Astra, thanks to product-boss Bob Lutz and his focus on integrating the Saturn and Opel brands - recently he told a media scrum that most of Saturn’s core products would be re-badged Opels. This would make Astra the likely candidate for North America, and whether it would be produced here or imported from one of its other plants, more likely Brazil than high-priced Europe, is also in question. Fortunately for Saturn, the same Ecotec engine that powers the Ion, and Cobalt/G5, is used in the Astra, which makes for an easier transition to U.S. regulations.

Another reason that backs up the re-badged Astra theory is the long delay in announcing a replacement for Ion. With the Ion going out of production at the end of this year, the time needed to ready an all-new Cobalt/G5 based replacement would mean Saturn dealers would be without a small car for some time - a critical problem for a brand that is known for small import-fighting cars. It would be disastrous if such a gap were to occur, of course, which means that Saturn dealers and customers may be the benefactors of a small car that will certainly upstage those in other GM brands.

Even if the Astra plan goes through, mind you, there will still be some time dealers are left without a small car, even if GM decides to increase Ion production at Spring Hill to make up for the slack - about a 60 to 90 day gap without a small car according to Saturn brand and product director, Lisa Hutchinson. Simply waiting for the new replacement could have dealers waiting eight to nine months, which would not be acceptable.

Opel Saturn Astra

Just what we be produced on Saturn’s Spring Hill Line One, the line that currently builds the Ion, is anyone’s guess.

“As of now, there’s no replacement for Line One,” commented GM spokesman Dan Flores. “Line Two is the Vue, and that will continue.”

With Saturn soon to replace the Vue and no additional composite-bodied models planned, the only plastic-paneled car to continue in GM’s future will be Chevy’s Corvette, and it is unlikely that it will be built anywhere other than Bowling Green, Kentucky.
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Postby Aneab » Fri Feb 09, 2007 5:29 am ... 234667.php

And with the introduction of the 2008 Astra, the Opelization of the Saturn line-up is now complete. In fact, the lineup for the customer-conscience brand from the General is actually so all-new, it now claims the Sky roadster as their "oldest product." But this bit of autobahn-tuned 3-door and 5-door hot-hatchness is, according to Jill Lajdziak, Saturn's general manager, expected to hit showrooms during the 4th quarter of this year. Gallery of both the 3-door and the 5-door below, along with the press release -- which you can feel free to discuss amongst – Ray Wert


CHICAGO - Saturn announced the addition of the all-new 2008 Astra to its lineup, bringing a decidedly European flavor to the North American compact car market. It is packed with a wide range of standard equipment and safety features, and delivers sporty performance with very good fuel economy.

The Saturn Astra will be offered in three-door and five-door models, each underpinned by a taught, European-bred suspension that delivers a sharp, responsive driving experience. Power comes from a 1.8L Ecotec four-cylinder engine that is both energetic and economical, delivering 140 horsepower (104 kW) and good fuel economy.

"In Europe, the Astra's combination of style, performance, safety technology and fuel efficiency have made it a hit with owners and auto critics alike," said Jill Lajdziak, Saturn general manager. "Now, Saturn is bringing the newly restyled Astra to North America and marrying it with our celebrated customer experience."

The Astra will go on sale in the fourth quarter of this year. It is the fifth product in a complete revamp of Saturn's product lineup. In fact, when the Astra hits showrooms, the "oldest" vehicle in Saturn's portfolio will be the Sky roadster, which debuted in March 2006. Other new models include the all-new Aura sedan, the redesigned Vue compact crossover - including the Vue Green Line hybrid - and the Outlook crossover.

"It's not a stretch to say Saturn is all-new," said Lajdziak. "The Astra rounds out our portfolio with a smart-driving, well-equipped small car that shares the European designs evident in all our new vehicles."

Product highlights

Saturn offers two trim levels (XE and XR) for five-door models, and a single trim (XR) in the three-door configuration, which was created with more enthusiastic drivers in mind.

The standard powertrain combination in all models is the 1.8L Ecotec DOHC four-cylinder engine, which is paired with a five-speed manual transmission. The Ecotec engine is enhanced with variable valve timing to optimize power output and fuel efficiency. A four-speed automatic transmission is optional on all models.

The Astra offers technologies to provide an agile, yet comfortable, driving experience. StabiliTrak electronic stability control system with traction control is standard on all three-door Astras, and available on five-door models. This system works in concert with the standard four-wheel, antilock disc brakes to help the driver maintain control during adverse road conditions or during sudden emergency driving situations.

An electro-hydraulic, rack-and-pinion steering system is standard on all models. It provides the solid, linear feel of a hydraulic power steering system, but improves fuel efficiency by operating the power steering pump only when necessary. The system has two available configurations: the standard 15:1 ratio on five-door models and a 14:1 Sport ratio (standard on the three-door; optional on five-doors).

Five-door Astras come with standard 16-inch wheels, but can be upgraded to 17-inch aluminum wheels. Three-door models come standard with 17-inch aluminum wheels, which can be upgraded to 18-inch aluminum wheels and performance tires.

Design details

The Astra has a clean, contemporary design that is infused with Saturn's signature styling cues, including a bold, bright grille bar with prominent Saturn logo. Both the three-door and five-door models are distinguished from their European relatives with unique front and rear fascias that conform to North American bumper standards.

Rear-end styling also features a bright trim bar, with large, wraparound taillamps and clear lenses. The center high-mounted stop lamp uses LED technology for fast and crisp illumination.

Proportions on both body styles suggest an enthusiastic driving experience, with the wheels pushed to the corners and subtle fender flares wrapped tightly around the tires for a tailored stance.

Interior design and features

Bold design, refinement and precise execution are the hallmarks of the Saturn Astra's interior, which envelops passengers in a contemporary environment that maximizes space and comfort. Details include a continuation of the exterior's center hood crease on to the center of the instrument panel, as well as a V-shaped center stack motif that also complements the design language of the exterior.

All models convey the Astra's sporting character through firm, well-supported seats and a thick, three-spoke steering wheel with rake and telescopic adjustments. Ahead of the steering wheel is a rounded cockpit binnacle that houses a large, three-dimensional gauge cluster - including large speedometer and tachometer dials. The sporty Astra three-door receives specific seats with more aggressive bolsters and lumbar support.

Additional interior highlights include:

* Illuminated glove box with damped door actuation
* A large, two-panel sunroof: the largest in its class (available on five-door only)
* Available heated seats in cloth or leather surfaces
* Auxiliary 12-volt power outlet
* Easy-to-remove rear cargo cover
* Power door locks (with central locking feature) and power windows with express down feature
* Standard six-speaker AM/FM/CD radio and available seven-speaker sound system; multi-disc and MP3-capable radios available
* Steering-wheel mounted audio controls (on XR models)

Astra's bold proportions, including a long, 103-inch (2,614 mm) wheelbase and 80-inch (2,033 mm) width, provide exceptional roominess and generous storage capacity. The 60/40-split folding rear seat also folds flat with the touch of a single, high-mounted lever. When the rear seat is folded, the five-door Astra offers 44.8 cubic feet (1,270 L) of storage space.

Occupant protection features

The 2008 Saturn Astra features a comprehensive list of safety systems to help protect occupants in the event of a crash. Highlights include:

* Rigid body structure with safety cage
* Six standard air bags, including dual-stage frontal air bags; roof rail head curtain air bags and thorax/pelvic air bags (front-seat passengers)
* Active head restraints
* Collapsible pedals
* Front safety belt pretensioners and load limiters
* OnStar with one year of Safe & Sound service

Body structure: The unitized body structure is designed with a safety cage around the passenger compartment, and features optimized front and rear crush zones that absorb energy and help maintain the structural integrity of the passenger compartment. High-strength steel is used strategically throughout the body structure.

Air bags: All Astra models feature dual-stage frontal air bags, seat-mounted thorax/pelvic air bags to help protect front occupants and head curtain air bags for front- and rear-seat occupants. Also standard is an automatic passenger sensing system for the front passenger seat; it suppresses the activation of the passenger-side frontal air bag if it detects a child or smaller-stature person in that seating position.

Active head restraints and collapsible pedals: Standard active head restraints instantly move forward if a rear-end crash is detected, reducing the risk of neck injuries. Similarly, the collapsible foot pedals move during a crash to reduce the risk of leg or ankle injuries.

Safety belt pretensioners and load limiters: When a crash is detected, the safety belt pretensioners immediately reduce the slack in the front safety belts, helping limit the movement of passengers. The load limiters permit a small amount of movement in the front safety belts, thereby reducing peak chest loads in a more severe crash.

OnStar: Astra comes with the latest-generation OnStar system, including available Turn-by-Turn Navigation. The system also includes advanced automatic crash notification (AACN). With AACN, an OnStar advisor is immediately contacted by the vehicle when a crash occurs; the advisor can determine the appropriate emergency help required and assist in sending it to the scene of the crash. Astra buyers will receive one year of Safe & Sound Service provided by Saturn.
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