Report: Buick To Get a Version of Opel Astra GTC Hot Hatch
By Chris Haak
Car and Driver reports that GM’s reborn near-luxury division will be getting a version of the new Opel Astra hatchback. C/D’s sources were not clear on where the car would be built – either Germany or the US – but since the car will share its chassis and likely its powertrains with the upcoming Buick Verano compact entry-luxury car, assembly alongside the Verano in the US is a good bet.
The car may not be called the Astra when it lands on these shores. In fact, it almost certainly would not be, since the Saturn Astra was not exactly a hot-selling model(nor was the entire Saturn brand, for that matter), so GM will probably choose to disassociate the new Buick model from the former underpowered and unrefined Saturn Astra.
The Verano’s engine options basically mirror those of the larger Buick Regal – with a 2.4 liter naturally aspirated four cylinder (making roughly 177 horsepower in the Verano) and a 2.0 liter turbocharged four (producing roughly 220 horsepower in the Verano). Two hundred twenty horsepower in a compact three-door would seem to be a good recipe for taking on the leaders in this segment – the Volkswagen GTI and Mazda3/MazdaSpeed3.
Despite great strides made by Buick over the past five years to trend its buyer demographic younger – the Enclave and Regal are certainly helping significantly in that regard – the brand needs to continue to attract new buyers to the brand, and to attract younger buyers. Former Saturn and Pontiac owners, perhaps making a bit more money than they did a few years ago, may be ripe for the picking at the local Buick-GMC dealer.