More stories related to Geneva Motor ShowGENEVA – Not to be overshadowed by the debuts of the more luxurious Cadillac BLS sedan and Saab 9-3 SportCombi wagon, Adam Opel AG’s redesigned Zafira monospace, an updated Chevrolet Matiz minicar and new Opel Astra OPC coupe also bow on the General Motors Corp. stage at the auto show here.

“This is the embodiment of a multi-brand strategy,” says GM Europe Chairman Fritz Henderson.

The 7-seat Zafira, which will be launched in July, is larger than its predecessor and features a sleeker design. An optional panoramic roof system also now is available.

“That product (the Zafira) represents 10% to 15% of our volume,” Henderson points out.

Engines choices range from 1.6L to 2.2L 4-cyls. offering 100-200 hp.

The interior features a driver-oriented cockpit with the gearshift lever positioned higher, providing space for a newly designed U-shaped handbrake lever integrated into the center console and an additional storage compartment.

Opel Zafira

The new instrument panel is dressed with chrome-ringed gauges and a monitor that displays information for infotainment systems, including optional DVD navigation and Bluetooth technologies.

The front passenger seat also can be ordered with an with integrated fold-down table on the back and large storage compartment underneath. Depending on trim level, the new Zafira offers about 30 practical storage compartments.

The FlexOrganizer system from the new Astra station wagon now also is available in the Zafira. This cargo-management system is comprised of two horizontal side rails in the luggage compartment, which have adjustable mounting points to allow flexible attachment of various retaining straps, hooks, dividers and storage boxes.

The front-wheel-drive Astra OPC (Opel Performance Center), to be launched in the fall, features a 240-hp 2.0L turbocharged gasoline engine and a 6-speed manual transmission. Sitting on standard 18-in. or optional 19-in. wheels, the compact car’s exterior styling is defined by a much wider and lower air intake and a honeycomb grille.

The Astra OPC’s tail is accentuated by a distinctive roof aerofoil and the trapezoidal center tailpipe.

Sporty details inside include Recaro seats available in 2-tone leather/fabric or leather upholstery. Other interior highlights include a new leather gearshift knob, chrome-ringed instruments with blue needles and new graphics on black dials, and stainless steel doorsill trim.

The Chevrolet Matiz, due in showrooms next month and developed by GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co., was one of many minicars bowing here, including the Mitsubishi Colt, Toyota Aygo, Suzuki Swift and Subaru R1.

“This is an extraordinarily important car for us,” Henderson tells Ward’s. “Last year it was 40% of our volume.”

About 80% of all the components in the FWD Matiz are new. Three trim levels are available, as well as a choice of two gasoline 4-cyl. engines – a 52-hp 0.8L and 66-hp 1.0L – paired with a standard 4-speed automatic transmission. (See related story: GM Daewoo Introduces New Matiz)

The revised exterior design features short overhangs, steeply rising shoulder lines, converging hood lines, a large air intake and round headlamps and taillights.

Inside the cabin, the Matiz’s cockpit is completely redesigned, and the 60/40 split rear seat also can fold flat.

bcorbett@primediabusiness.com