(autoinsidernews) - Wards Auto is reporting that General Motors has begun aligning its Saturn and Opel brand over the next seven years. By 2014. the plan is for nearly every car in the lineup of each brand will be interchangeable, said Carl-Peter Forster, president of GM Europe. In an interview with Wards Auto, Forster said from now on, whenever we develop a vehicle, we have to make sure we can export it to the U.S., and vice versa. The idea is to be very flexible.
While the recently introduced Saturn Aura rides on the Epsilon platform that also underpins the Opel Vectra, the cars were developed separately, with different designs. The plan for the next-generation Aura and Vectra is for both vehicles to be developed at the same time by the same designers. General Motors will also be bringing the Opel Antara SUV and the Astra compact to the States soon as replacements for the Saturn's VUE and ION models. Production of the Saturn versions of both models is expected to begin at the end of 2007, reports Trend.
While most of the vehicles will come from Opel to Saturn, at least one vehicle is going the other way, with the Saturn Sky being sold in Europe as the Opel GT. The only potential exception to the model sharing is larger vehicles, like the all-new Saturn Outlook, because the crossover is too large for most Europeans. But, Bryan Nesbitt, who oversees design for Opel and Saturn brands from Europe, says it could be a different story in five years when the next-generation Outlook hits the market.