New Astra at Frankfurt

Autoblog's James Baggott reports from the Frankfurt Motor Show

VAUXHALL'S new Astra will debut a host of clever technology when its
hits the road later this year.

The new car, unveiled officially at the Frankfurt Motor Show today, will
feature a clever 'Opel Eye' system that reads the road ahead.
The camera, mounted on the front of the dashboard, can tell drivers when
they stray out of a lane and even read speed limit signs and display
these on the dash.

The new Astra, which is available to order now, is the 10th generation
of the vital model. It has been consistently in the top three best
selling models across Europe throughout its production run and remains
vital to the marque's future.

At the launch, Opel's Carl-Peter Foster said: 'The new Astra is a very
important model for us. The new version will play a key role in our

'We intend to work alongside GM as we go forward and can only be
successful by drawing on the economies of scale that partnership offers.
To the doubters I would say let us get on with it and prove we can be

The new Astra will be launched in five door guise but an estate and
feisty three-door are coming soon. Fuel usage has been improved by 12
per cent and although there won't be a sub-100g/km car at launch, the
maker is working on getting a model in that free road tax bracket soon.

VAUXHALL's star electric car, the Ampera, will feature a four-cylinder
petrol 'generator' to help boost its range.

At the Frankfurt Motor Show, Opel chief Carl-Peter Foster confirmed that
it will have an 'on-board generator' to extend the range to 500kms.
At present, the electric Lithium Ion batteries - which are recharged
using a normal household plug - can power the saloon for 50-60kms.
Vauxhall believes this will be more than enough for the average daily
commute. However, to satisfy longer distance journeys the generator will
kick in to charge the batteries.

The Ampera - seen at the Frankfurt show in all but production ready form
- is still being road tested by the manufacturer, but is in the latter
stages of development.

Look out for more news from Autoblog's James Baggott at Frankfurt Motor Show