Thursday, December 24, 2009
2010 Buick Astra Spied in Germany - Could it Make it to the US?
Bolstering previous rumors that General Motors may expand Buick's lineup with new models from its European Opel division, our spy photographers bagged these shots of a prototype Astra model fitted with Buick's trademark waterfall-style grille. The test mule that was spotted in Germany also featured slightly larger fog lights on the front bumper but other than that, we did not detect any other styling changes compared to the Opel - Vauxhall Astra that is scheduled to make its first public appearance at this fall's Frankfurt show.
We do know that GM's Buick unit is preparing to add the Astra to its Chinese market portfolio selling it alongside the Regal sedan that is nothing more than an Opel Insignia with a new grille and different set of badges.
But what about the U.S.? Prior to General Motors' decision to sell off its Saturn unit, it was believed that the new generation Astra would be built in North America and sold in the States under the Saturn brand.
Just before General Motors entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, several news agencies reported that the Opel Insignia as well as the Astra were being considered for Buick's North American range.
So what's the deal now with the Astra at post-bankruptcy GM? Well, to be completely frank, your guess is as good as ours. When GM's CEO Fritz Henderson says in June that the Pontiac G8 won't be rebadged as another model in the US and a month later, Bob Lutz says the opposite, stating in a magazine interview that the G8 will be reincarnated as the Chevy Caprice in North America, there's so much credibility that you can you give to any rumors or/and reports that surface.
But whatever the deal is, we reckon that a North American built Astra with a Buick badge accompanied by some serious marketing efforts could provide GM with a credible contender to the Mazda3 and its ilk.