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by Tim Beissmann

Our spy photographers have captured the Opel Astra sedan undergoing testing near the Nurburgring in Germany ahead of its anticipated unveiling later this year.

As the images reveal, the new Astra sedan shares its basic styling features with the Astra hatch launched in Europe in 2009.

The rear-end design is expected to closely resemble that of the Buick Verano and Excelle GT models; Astra-based sedans that went on sale last year in the US and China, markets where sedans are favoured over hatchbacks.

The Opel Astra sedan, which should feature the same powertrains as those offered in the hatch range, is expected to be targeted at eastern and central European countries rather than mainstream European markets like the UK, France and Germany.

Once a mainstay of the Astra line-up, Opel has shifted its focus away from the sedan in major markets in favour of the hatch, as well as the more versatile wagon, the sporty GTC coupe and the open-top Cabriolet.

Opel Australia’s Melanie Kerin said the Astra sedan would not join the five-door hatch, Sports Tourer wagon and three-door GTC in the local brand’s initial launch range that will land in showrooms in September.

Kerin said the local brand was not commenting further on the Astra sedan at this stage.

International reports suggest the Opel Astra sedan will be unveiled at the 2012 Paris motor show in September.




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