GM CEO Barra underlines commitment to European brand Opel, launches new version of Astra

General Motors CEO Mary Barry has underlined GM's commitment to its recovering European branch Opel as she showed off a new version of Opel's mainstay Astra compact at the Frankfurt auto show.

Barra said Tuesday the new Astra will "play a significant role in the long term success of Opel." She said "Opel is vital to GM."

The new Astra will be key in growing sales in a fiercely competitive market for mass-market vehicles. It goes up against a new Renault Megane, also being shown in Frankfurt, and the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.

Opel has gained market share and increased sales, and expects to return to profit by 2016.

The new Astra goes on sale Oct. 10 in Europe, starting at around 17,200 euros.