Opel Astra Spotted Testing On American Roads

As many different vehicles as General Motors makes for its own domestic market, it produces many others overseas that never make it home to the United States. Imagine our surprise, then, when a reader sent us photos of the latest Opel Astra on American roads.

The Astra, for those unfamiliar, is sold in Europe as an Opel, in the UK as a Vauxhall, in Australia as a Holden, and in China as a Buick. Previous iterations have even been sold in some markets as a Chevy, and in the United States as a Saturn. But that was two generations ago.

The closest we get these days is with the Chevy Cruze and Buick Verano – models which share their underpinnings with the Astra. But could the award-winning Opel‘s presence on US soil indicate that plans are afoot to bring it to the North American market?

Maybe. Or maybe GM is just putting its European hatchback through the same battery of tests as it does with its North American products. Hard to say, really, but even though it’s been designed with other markets in mind, the Astra doesn’t look out of place on American tarmac – as long as you don’t scratch your head too hard at the combination of Opel badges and Michigan plates.

Thanks again for the shots, Brett!

Photo Gallery

  • Akira

    I think it’s a good opportunity to ask why Opel is sold as Vauxhall in the uk?

    • haudit

      During the 1970s and 1980s, Opel and Vauxhall’s ranges were rationalised into one consistent range across Europe, but the Vauxhall name was retained as it had a much, much larger share of the UK market than Opel, and had considerable buyer loyalty.

      Even now, the Insignia and Astra sell considerably more in the UK than they do in Germany, so the Vauxhall name isn’t going anywhere.

    • Benjamin B.

      Vauxhall has a long history in the UK. It’s the same reason Holden exists in Australia and Chevrolet in North America. Opel tried to sell cars here in the UK and North America, but wasn’t successful.

      • Shoaib

        Opal also tried to sell its Astra under its own batch but failed. Now Astra is back in Australia after 5 years having logo of Holden . Now people are taking interest in it.

    • Simon Chambers

      Rip the badge off a UK Vauxhall and you’ll see the outline of the Opel logo on the moulding underneath. They literally slap on a new plastic badge on a RHD built car, write Vauxhall on all the English language manuals and push it out of the factory door.

      I imagine it costs them sweet feck all to brand it as Vauxhall instead of Opel, which is probably why the GM bean counters haven’t bothered changing it.

  • Fling3t

    Sell it as a Buick

  • Christian

    The Saturn Astra is bacccck!Probably as a Buick …

    • ToniCipriani ✓pǝᴉɟᴉɹǝʌ

      Astra never left, it was the Buick Verano.

      • Benjamin B.

        The hatchback and/or wagon is back

  • Timo

    The Opel Astra is on sale since late 2015 and i’ve driven it with the 136 HP Diesel engine.
    It’s a fun car to drive, a big improvement over its predecessor. Lighter, more responsive, with a “cleaner” interior and more space for its passengers.
    It shure would work as a Buick and be a great alternative to the Focus, Civic and others.

  • Tumbi Mtika

    I recently saw a Skoda at Dulles International.

  • Randy Terpstra

    Are they perhaps testing the Astra’s 1.6T in real world conditions, here in North America? Neither the related Verano or Cruze have the 1.6T combo. The hitch suggests load towing tests are part of the mix.

    BTW, is the red item protruding from under the bumper some kind of external kill switch?

    • Kash

      that red thing is just a cover to hook up the trailer’s electronics to the car for brakes and turning signals, etc.

      • Randy Terpstra

        Thanks for the info. It (and the hitch it-self) doesn’t appear very ‘North-American’ looking.

        • Kash

          I’ve seen a few Cayenne’s with similar looking hitches but I don’t think they can tow a whole lot.

  • Benjamin B.

    I heard the next generation Buick Verano will offer (either) a hatchback and/or wagon version(s), so it is possible this vehicle is simply a disguised Verano.

    This is clearly not a crossover, so hopefully it means we aren’t getting the lifted hatchback version that has been speculated.

    • antbee

      I thought the Verano was going away, and this would be its replacement? Maybe GM changed its mind? I see an awful lot of Veranos in the wild up here in Canada. I had one as a rental for about a month. Couldn’t stand the damn thing.

  • GeneZ

    The best driving car I have ever driven was a 2008 Saturn Astra XR (with a stick).. I loved its solid, hunkered down feel on the road.. I cried a little when Saturn shut down. I had been waiting till Saturn would offer the Astra with a sunroof.