New Astra Justin Time

Justin Berkowitz
by Justin Berkowitz
new astra justin time

Last year, when testing Saturn's Opel Astra, I really liked the car. But I also noted that it was obvious how hastily GM brought the import into the U.S. The leading indicator: the 24-hour clock and Day/Month/Year format on the display (time-traveling Michael J. Fox sold separately). For the 2009 model year, I'm happy to announce (to those of you that care) that GM has updated these critical functions to a more American-friendly format. The 24-hour clock gives way to a 12-hour clock for those that can't subtract 12 easily, and the date display will no longer make you think there are only 12 really long days in Febtober, the 25th month. Since it is a damn fine vehicle, the assumption might be that in the month when Honda Civic sales surpassed even the mighty F-150, the demand for any other small, practical vehicles would be at least somewhat higher. Alas, that was not the case. Saturn shifted 1091 Astras in May (contrast this with 1467 Hummer H3s). While these updates (and a new optional heated oil pan) are indeed exciting, one can't help but wonder how the Astra=– rated at a respectable-for-class 24/30 (with America-friendly 4 speed automatic)– would be selling with proper advertising support and an autobox that allowed them to advertise better MPGs. Rethink that.

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  • Under_the_Bus Under_the_Bus on Jun 19, 2008

    pman wrote: GM is like Maxwell Smart: “Missed it by THAT much!!” Maybe if they had Anne Hathaway selling this car...everyone remembers Jill Wagner.

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Jun 19, 2008

    I just had a thought. No jokes, please :) Anyway, it seems to me that the shape that GM is in is the result of a LOT of problems. We all like to yell about the ones that we think are the most important (my favorites are the unions and government), but in reality, it is all of them combined that makes it such a tough situation. Here is the new twist: The shear number of things causing problems makes it nearly impossible to get anything postive done because every group you try to get change from is likely protesting about how the OTHER guys are the real problem. If it were only management vs. union it might get fixed, but there are really dozens of major problems and most have groups involved who don't want to change them. I could take this theory along further, but it's about to go down my usual road, so I will spare you. Still, I thought that new part was kinda important.

  • MrCharlie MrCharlie on Jun 20, 2008

    My wife and I just purchased an Astra this evening. Love the car so far, as much fun to drive as any of the BMWs I've owned. We were seriously considering the Fit at one point in our search. Despite the no-haggle pricing, price and a great deal are what pushed us into the Astra. First, the dealer was quite generous on her trade. We were able to get supplier price, since she is a grad student, which was around $1500 off. Then the dealer offered $500 dealer incentive. Finally, we got a $2000 GM incentive of some kind in the mail yesterday. We were allowed to stack everything, basically taking the keys for several thousand less than the Fit, for a car I find to be much more substantial and enjoyable.

  • Pch101 Pch101 on Jun 20, 2008
    I saw it, but I was somewhat incredulous. I still think it might be that they’re just changing the default and making it sound like a big whoopty doo. Marketing weasels say hello. Mr. Berkowitz's clip above is from GM's press release about the 2009 car. It outlines the changes that have been made. He pointed out this clock issue in his review of the car. I found this interesting, as he was, as far as I can tell, the only reviewer who identified this. It's amazing that GM spent 9 figures federalizing this thing, but failed to give Americans a 12-hour clock. Either somebody at GM just forgot, or else an accountant must have decided that the $10 or whatever was needed to change it wasn't worth the expense.