ZURICH - General Motors Europe has taken the unusual step of revealing its intentions in the compact minivan segment.
Opel and Vauxhall will not launch the Zafira until 1999. However, GM announced details about the car. Apparently GM wants to keep too much attention from going to the Megane Scenic that established the segment and rivals that will reach the market before 1999.
The Zafira is a front-drive vehicle using the Astra floorpan. It will accommodate five adults and two children. With rear seats out, it seats two people and holds 1,705 liters of cargo on a load platform with a length of 2.8 meters.
Engines will come from the ECOTEC range. The Zafira will offer a 100ps, 1.6-liter, 16-valve gasoline engine and an 82ps, 2.0-liter, direct-injection diesel.
The Zafira will be manufactured in Germany on the same production line as the Astra.
Wheelbase and width will be similar to that of the current Astra station wagon, with an overall length of 4320mm and width of 1710mm. Height is 1650mm.
The name Zafira was computer-generated by GM Europe's name department in Zurich. It 'has no meaning and will conjure up nothing except the vehicle itself,' said a GM spokesman.
The unveiling of the project two years early is a clear indication of the importance which GM attaches to the compact minivan sector.
VW, Citroen, Ford and Fiat are planning entrants in the segment.