The Opel Astra was created and manufactured by Opel, a German automaker, since the year 1991. This is a small family car designated as the C-segment throughout Europe. In the U.K it carries the Vauxhall Astra name and in China it is known as the Buick Excelle XT. In Australia and in New Zealand Holden Astra was cut in the year 2009 because the exchange rates for the vehicle made it uncompetitive. It was then replaced with the Holden Cruze. In the year 2012, it briefly returned to Australia in the year 2012 under the name Opel, but was discontinued just a year later.
The Opel Astra is currently built in the United Kingdom, Poland, and in Russia.
The name Astra comes from Vauxhall, which had manufactured and then marketed the earlier version of the Opel Kadett as the Vauxhall Astra. In the early part of the 1990s, GM Europe policy standardized the model nomenclature so that it would be the same in every market.
Since the year 2009, there have been 4 Astra generations. These generations are designated using the Latin alphabet, which is common for the Opel company. The official convention from the company is that the Astra is a continuation of the Kadett lineage. For this reason, the first generation of the Astra is labeled as being the F since the last of the Opel Kadett’s was labeled as E. Another of the conventions that is used by GM states that the Astra is a completely different model and therefore uses the nomenclature Astra A for the first generation. Models that have been sold as the Holden, Chevrolet, or Vauxhall have different designations of generations that reflect the history of the names in their home markets.
The first generation of the Astra, the Astra F was manufactured from 1991 through 1998. The Astra was offered as either a 3 door or 5 door hatchback, as a sedan, or as a wagon. The wagon only came with 5 doors. This brought an end to the 3 door wagons that were traditionally offered by Opel. There was a cabriolet offered as well which was designed and then built in Italy by Bertone. The Astra F completed production in Germany in the year 1998. In Poland, the Astra F continued to be manufactured from the year 1998 through 2002.
The Astra G was launched throughout Europe in the year 1998. It was available in several styles including a 3 door and a 5 door lift back, a saloon, a station wagon, and after the year 2000 there were 2 special versions offered, the coupe and the cabrio. The coupe and the cabrio were both Bertone designs and builds. A natural gas engine was introduced with the G generation.
The coupe model of the Astra G was used in dedicated race cars of the DTM series. These cars were purposely built for racing and did not use hardly any of the parts from the road cars.
The most current generation of the Astra is the J. This version made its debut in Germany at the Frankfurt Motor Show in the year 2009. This is the generation that is still being made today. Most of the styling of the latest version comes from the Insignia and there are many higher options that are available as the standard. Production of this version started in September of the year 2009 and they started being delivered in December of the same year.
In the year 2010, the Opel Astra was the 3rd place finisher for the award for European car for the year.