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Opel expects big sales boost for Astra with new wagon

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Opel expects big sales boost for Astra with new wagon

Paul McVeigh

Automotive News Europe -- June 18, 2010 10:38 CET

Opel/Vauxhall expects its Astra compact car range to get a big sales boost with the addition of a station wagon variant that will launch in Europe in November, a month after its debut at the Paris auto show.

The wagon, which the General Motors Co. division calls the Astra Sports Tourer, will be the second model in the new Astra range, which includes a five-door hatchback that launched last December.

Opel said this week it has received more than 160,000 orders for the latest-generation Astra hatchback since the model's launch. The company said the station wagon version traditionally accounts for about 25 percent of all Astra sales in Europe, a much higher proportion than the compact segment average of 17 percent.

The new Astra wagon will share the same sleek, sculpted design as its larger counterpart, the Insignia Sports Tourer.

Technical innovations on the Astra wagon include adaptive forward lighting and a front-view camera system that recognizes traffic signs and warns drivers when they inadvertently depart from their lane.

The Astra Sports Tourer shares its footprint with its five-door hatchback sibling, with a similar 2685mm-long wheelbase and wide front and rear tracks of 1544mm and 1558mm respectively.

Load volume can be adjusted between 500 and 1550 liters, helped by a new FlexFold rear seat system, which allows remote folding of the seatbacks at the press of a button, a feature Opel said is a first for compact wagons.

With the seatbacks down, the cargo load length is increased to 1835mm, 28mm more than in the current-generation Astra wagon.

A new addition to the eight gasoline and diesel engines on offer is a 120-hp, 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline unit, mated with a six-speed manual transmission.

Opel said fuel-saving start-stop technology will be introduced soon in the Astra Sports Tourer and across the Astra lineup. The first application will be a new ecoFLEX variant with a 1.3-liter diesel engine that delivers 95 hp.

The new Astra wagon was designed and developed at Opel's international technical design center in Ruesselsheim. The wagon will be built at the company's production plant in Ellesmere Port, northwest England.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100618/ANE/100619863/1130#ixzz0rDKKmaie

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