General Motors Europe's plant in Gliwice, Poland, on Thursday (23 August) built its first redesigned Astra sedan.

The four-door 'notchback' variant, which made its world debut last November at the Istanbul motor show in Turkey, has been developed primarily for developing central and eastern European markets where buyers prefer the sedan body style to hatchbacks.

In a similar vein, Fiat builds its new Linea sedan in Turkey, also largely for emerging markets, Renault builds Megane sedans there and a Toyota plant churns out Corolla notchbacks.

The Astra sedan is a third model for GME's Gliwice plant which already builds the Astra-derived Zafira seven-seat minivan/MPV and the previous generation Astra sedan badged 'Classic'..

Gliwice started production in 1998, and GME claims, has earned an excellent reputation for quality and is the model for new GM manufacturing plants in the world.

The plant uses the automaker's global common manufacturing system incorporating focus on quality, continuous improvement, standardisation, employee involvement and short lead times in all operations.

GM Poland managing director Romuald Rytwinski sees the production of the new sedan in Gliwice as a confirmation of the plant's quality and workmanship.

"As one of the most popular models in the Opel range in eastern and central Europe, we are proud to produce the new Astra sedan here in Gliwice, and we are committed to the high levels of quality we expect from our employees and our vehicles," he said.

The new model is built with two petrol and two diesel engines with outputs between 90 and 140hp. All versions have front disc brakes, ABS (now mandatory in most of Europe) and cornering brake control (CBC), brake assist and electro-hydraulic power steering (EHPS) as standard, as well as comfort features such as central locking, front power windows and a 60:40 split rear bench seat back.