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GM’s European Opel brand recently unveiled the new Astra GTC hatchback and according to the most recent reports this car will be sold in America, but under the Buick badge. The Buick brand has already had considerable success rebadging the Opel Insignia as the Regal on this side of the Atlantic.
This plan has been tried once before and failed miserably, when GM brought the Astra over as a Saturn. The new car is, however, larger and based on an all new platform is under the Buick brand is expected to offer a more premium interior with an overall improved build quality. The Buick ‘Astra’ (an official name has yet to be picked) will also receive more respectable powerplants, with the 177-hp 2.4-liter 4-cylinder and 220-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engines likely candidates.
In addition to the hatchback, Buick is also expected to gain a small convertible based on the same platform and which could compete alongside cars like the Volkswagen Eos.
GALLERY: Opel Astra GTC
Could Opel-based model retain the Astra name?
As Buick officially unveiled its new entry-level Regal model at the LA Auto Show last week, the General Motors brand announced that it would offer yet another model to slot in underneath this new offering. The new car, first shown in a Buick promo video and now spied in Germany, is expected to be based on the European Opel Astra – also known as the Buick Excelle XT in China.
At Buick’s LA Auto Show press conference the company did show a brief glimpse of what the car will look like (pictured above). Now, however, we have a solid look at several prototypes spied testing in Germany.
As the photos show, it will arrive as a sedan in the U.S (as expected). One likely engine choice is a 181-hp 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. It will most certainly be front-wheel drive.
Judging from the pics it appears as though the smallest Buick will have more in common, design wise, with the larger LaCrosse, with a more powerful “waterfall” grille up front.
Now the question remains if Buick will keep the Astra name for North America (especially considering the Saturn Astra) or will it invent a new one.
GALLERY: Buick Astra Spy Photos
[Source: CarPix via Autoblog]