GM has released a set of vague sketches to tease those European brethren among us who are anxiously awaiting the launch of the new Astra, which we're not expecting until the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show. The new hatch is set to draw inspiration from the 2009 Opel Insignia, which is probably the 2011 Saturn Aura and can be seen blocking the view of a blurry Astra. Whether or not this Astra becomes a new Saturn Astra in 2011 or 2012 is still unclear, with the possibility said to be very dependent upon exchange rates. Press release below the jump.

ALL-NEW ASTRA SET TO TAKE COMPACT CLASS BY STORM IN 2009 * 5-door hatch to debut at 2009 Frankfurt Show * All-new, highly sophisticated chassis * New high-efficiency engines * Leading technology evolved from Insignia Luton. The next generation Vauxhall Astra will receive its premiere at next year’s Frankfurt Show, delivering a compelling mix of technical innovation and groundbreaking design that promises to raise the bar in the compact sector. With its flowing lines and signature sculpted blade, the new Astra will carry the spirit of the Insignia into the compact class, offering customers a premium feel, while maintaining Vauxhall’s value for money promise. Inside, the premium theme will continue, with a warm, wrap-around interior and a wing-line sweep that links the instrument panel to the door. An all-new chassis promises to maintain the Astra’s reputation for class-leading dynamics, while new engines will maximise low-end torque to achieve miserly fuel consumption. Also expect to see clever and practical features on the new Astra, taking inspiration from systems like the Corsa’s FlexFix integrated carrier. The new Astra will major on technical innovation, such as the Front Camera System used in the upcoming Insignia, which combines traffic sign recognition with a lane departure system, improving occupant safety and potentially helping drivers avoid fines. Next generation Adaptive Front Lighting (AFL) will also be shared with the Insignia. The system adapts to different road and driving conditions by providing nine unique light beams, improving visibility and safety during night-time driving. This will be the fourth generation of the hugely successful Astra, which has sold over 2.5 million cars in the UK during the last 27 years. The current model kick-started Vauxhall’s design renaissance when it was launched in 2004, and according to Mark Adams, GM Europe’s Vice President of Design, it presented his team with serious challenges: "The present Astra already combines a high level of technical substance and emotional styling, but with the new car we are taking a big step forward in both respects, while emphasising its sporting credentials."

[Source: GM]