New Astra Convertible at Paris

There is no official word from Vauxhall, but it seems certain that an Astra-based convertible will be launched at the Paris Motor Show in September.

The latest rumour (of many) comes from industry website which says it will go into production in Poland in early 2013, and will feature a fabric roof, rather than a folding metal one. It will be based on the Astra GTC Coupe, which is certainly not a bad place to start: the GTC is a good-looking car and has a decent chassis.

Folding metal roofs are amazing pieces of engineering with ability to perform origami on themselves, but they are heavy and expensive. They also need a big boot into which they can fold, which compromises the styling: nearly all Astra/Focus type cars with such roofs have very big backsides. Given that these cars are principally fashion items, the styling problems do seem like a bit of an own-goal.

It is certainly encouraging that Vauxhall/Opel is continuing to invest in new models, despite the torrent of red ink flowing through the company. Earlier this week it announced a loss of $400 million (£250 million) in the last three months alone. The company is hoping that a combination of more attractive models and cost-cutting will bring it to profitability.