Astra La Vista
Reports of the death of the overpriced/weak-selling Euro-model Saturn Astra are proving premature. Ish. Automotive News (sub) reports that the next-gen Astra will be built at the St Louis Potosi plant in Mexico, in hopes of turning a profit in the dollar zone. (The new Astra is currently in development; The General will release the next gen Astra as a 2011 model based on GM’s global Delta platform.) As currency and shipping costs doom Euro-imports to high price-points and weak profitability, producing U.S.-spec sibs in the U.S. and Mexico (e.g. the Astra and Ford’s Focus, Fiesta, Kuga and C-Max) is becoming the short-term strategy of choice for both Ford and GM. Of course, Ford is taking a more conservative route, producing already-developed models in the NA market. GM is simply adding new-world production of a brand new global platform. Either way, it’s an improvement on the desperate importation strategy currently in effect– even if GM’s choice of Mexican production eliminates yet another opportunity to qualify for retooling loans currently being pork-barreled from congress.
I think I have seen an Astra on the road exactly one time (and I drive about 300 miles a week on I-5 near Portland Oregon). It's amazing that these things can't, don't or won't sell when Focii and such are flying off the shelves.
For the record, I have seen nine locally. No, they were not on the dealer's lot...
Tyler: So, where in Europe are you from? :)
Yeah, after reading the features list and actually driving the car, I actually asked the salesman "WHY don't I see these things EVERYWHERE?" Esp. for the 17K and a song they're going for now. I reeeeallly hope the next-gen "americanized" version isn't as crapped out as certain other economy cars (cough ahem Scion xB).