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2010 Opel Astra: The Saturn That Never Was?

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2010 Opel Astra

2010 Opel Astra

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General Motors says its new Opel Astra will be its big product news at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show, but we're a little skeptical because a) the pictures are all over the 'Net and it's May, and b) because the big story no doubt will be the collection of brands swapping hands from GM to Fiat, if all goes as planned.

Nevertheless, GM sent out these photos of the new Astra with a couple of vital details. The Astra range essentially shares its running gear with the 2011 Chevrolet Volt and the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze, including a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine. A hybrid version of the Astra will also be produced at some point in the future--grain of salt taken, since GM is said to be negotiating a deal to give Opel to Fiat in exchange for a big chunk of the Italian automaker.

Out of the equation for good, it seems, is orphan GM brand Saturn. Saturn sells the current version of the Astra, but GM has pulled the plug on the brand and is looking for a buyer. Saturn execs say they may buy vehicles for sale through a contract-manufacturing arrangement, which could mean the little Opels do eventually make it stateside.

Whether that's under a Buick badge, a Fiat badge, an Opel badge or a Saturn badge that's really an Opel badge underneath, won't be certain for months.

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2010 Opel Astra

2010 Opel Astra

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