Adam Opel AG will use a Fiat platform, not a General Motors version, for its next Astra compact.
The decision means GM is increasing its platform sharing with Fiat Auto.
It also means that GM's Delta architecture, originally designed for the Astra in Europe and for North American cars, will appear primarily in North America. That will cut Delta's expected annual volume in half to about 500,000 and reduce GM's economies of scale.
Opel will put the next version of the compact Astra, due in 2004 or 2005, on Fiat's C Frame, according to supplier sources in Europe and the United States. Fiat's low-cost, C Frame debuted in October on the Stilo compact.
Platform sharing between GM units and Fiat is increasing, as evidenced by the announcement Thursday, Feb. 7, that the two companies jointly will develop a subcompact platform for cars smaller than the Astra.
The first Delta vehicle, the Saturn Ion, will be introduced this fall. GM has said it will use the architecture for a Chevrolet small car that will replace the Cavalier, and possibly for a small Pontiac vehicle.
Last year, GM officials said they were likely to pick up styling cues from the Astra for U.S. small cars. But now that the Astra will be built on a Fiat platform, the styling of the Astra and U.S. small cars could diverge.
A GM spokesman would not confirm the Astra's move to the Fiat platform, saying that Opel had not set its plans for the next Astra.