As a testament to the growing importance of the Russian car market, for the first time ever, Opel will celebrate an automotive world premiere at the Moscow International Auto Salon that runs from August 29 to September 9.
To be more precise, GM's European division will host three world debuts including the brand-new Astra four-door sedan and the facelifted Astra five-door hatchback and the Astra Sports Tourer (station wagon).
Opel says that more than a million visitors are expected at the Auto Salon where it will also host the Russian premieres of the sporty Astra OPC with its 276hp (280PS) turbocharged four and the Mokka small crossover.
The automaker noted that after Germany, Russia is its second biggest automotive market in Europe selling around 70,000 cars last year, while for 2012, from January to July, Opel has recorded an increase of 29 percent in sales.
"According to predictions Russia is expected to become Europe´s main market with up to 3.4 million total vehicle sales in 2014," said Opel in a statement.
"Its high growth potential is down to the low average of vehicles per capita. For example, Russia has half as many vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants as Germany. More than half of all cars on Russian roads are more than ten years old," the company added.
Opel considers the new Astra sedan a key component of its growth strategy in the country. The saloon model is a sibling to the North American Buick Verano.
It measures 4,658mm long, 1,814mm wide and 1,476 mm tall offering a trunk volume of 460 liters, 90 liters more than the five-door hatch, which can be increased to 1,010 liters by folding the 60:40 split rear bench.
The Opel Astra sedan will be offered for sale in select Western European markets such as Germany and Spain (but not the UK), in Eastern Europe, Russia and Turkey.