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Spy shot: GM’s shared Vue from Saturn

Is this soft-roader a Vauxhall? An Opel? Or could it be a Saturn or a Chevrolet? The trick answer is… it’s all of them. All four brands will get a version of the 4x4 pictured here between this summer and 2008, when the last of the quartet – this Saturn Vue – arrives in US dealers.

The project personifies GM’s new, joined up approach to product development, which could save up to $200m on the Vue project alone. Architectures are shared by brands around the world; plants on different continents compete to assemble new models for multiple outposts; and European designers can pen the appearance of models to be sold in North America. Such as the new Saturn Vue.

The Vue shares its design with the forthcoming Vauxhall/Opel Antara, due in UK showrooms late this year. Saturn’s chrome, winged badge may be peeping out from that disguise, but otherwise the styling is bang on the new Vauxhall’s. The Antara concept, unveiled last autumn, previewed the look of the forthcoming trio. However, our spyshots reveal that the Frankfurt show’s three-door ‘crossover’ look has given way to a five-door body with a taller roof.

Making it to production are the concept’s eye-catching (new Passat-esque) headlamps, where a circular bulb bisects a geometric shape. And the cabin’s hooded, motorcycle-style binnacle, beside a centre console punctured by three circular vents, is also faithful to the show car’s.

The monocoque chassis can handle either front- or four-wheel drive. The European engine line-up includes 120 and 150bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesels and probably a 140bhp 2.4-litre petrol engine. The diesels are made in Korea by VM Motori.

Why Korea? That’s where the Vauxhall/Opel Antara will be built. Saturn Vue will be assembled in the US. Such is the flexible approach of GM’s new method of creating cars.

Design

As Vauxhall’s Antara: edgy headlamps, gaping grille and a central spine running through bonnet and roof.

Platform

Global architecture offers front- and four-wheel drive capability, and four and six-cylinder engines. Engines

The Vauxhall will run 2.0-litre common rail diesel with either 120 or 150bhp and 140bhp 2.4-litre petrol.

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