FRANKFURT – Adam Opel AG introduces the Antara, a new Gran Tourismo cross/utility vehicle that is slated to hit European showrooms in the fourth quarter.

The sporty CUV, powered by a 212-hp, 1.9L CDTI 4-cyl., is capable of a top speed of 130 mph (210 km/h), GM says. The diesel engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

GM says computer simulations of the powertrain indicate the vehicle can accelerate 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in about 8 seconds.

The 3-door vehicle has a hatch that swings upward and forward so a user does not need to take a step back when opening the rear compartment.

Press reports have quoted Vice Chairman Bob Lutz as saying the model will come to the U.S. as the next-generation Saturn Vue, but GM CEO Rick Wagoner isn’t confirming that.

“We haven’t decided whether to sell the Antara in North America,” Wagoner says.

But the car is intended to help fuel Opel’s resurgence in Europe and will be a global vehicle available in other markets.

Lutz says Opel has embraced plans to strengthen its product offerings with sexy designs like the Antara.

The auto maker also will market its new products in innovative ways designed to give the brand a better image, he says, pointing out Opel is now the No.2 car company in Europe.

Lutz says styling will play a dominant role in Opel’s resurgence. A new central design facility in Russelsheim, Germany, for GM Europe will help Opel become a global brand, he says.

“Design is the last great differentiator in the auto industry,” Lutz says. “If you have to explain the design, the vehicle is not going to be successful.”

Lutz says GM recognizes it is in the arts and entertainment business. This will lead to a more emotion-driven strategy, he says.

“In a few years our product will take a backseat to no one,” Lutz says.

GM is no longer a fragmented company, he adds. “We are now one company (worldwide).”