The Astra was launched in Europe in 1998, though sketches of the car can be seen as early as 1992. It was available as a 3 and 5-door hatchback, 4-door saloon and two special versions: the Astra Coupé and the Astra Cabrio, both of them designed and built by Bertone. The Astra G/B saw the introduction of a natural gas-powered engine. Its chassis was tuned by Lotus and formed the base of a seven-seater compact MPV, the Opel Zafira. The manufacturing of Astra G/B continued at GM's Gliwice plant in Poland after the debut of the next-generation Astra H/C, with the older model being branded as Astra Classic in a similar fashion to its predecessor, catering to the lower end of the market. Apart from European markets, these models were sold in Australia and New Zealand as Holden Astra Classic, until they were replaced by the Holden Viva in 2006. The Astra G/B continues as the locally-built Chevrolet Astra in Brazil. It was facelifted in 2003, and is sold in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and other Latin American markets. In Brazil, the Astra G/B remains as the leader of its segment in sales since 1999. The GM Brazilian 2.0 8v I4 engine which equips the Astra has the "flexpower" technology, that allows the car to run on both petrol/alcohol fuels, providing 128/140 hp (G/A) @ 5.200 rpm.
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