Opel and Saturn have always had a close affinity, with a number of popular models like the Vectra and Astra sold under both labels with barely any changes except for the badge located on the grille. However, with the future of Saturn looking grim, Buick is set to become the gateway for Europe’s hot imports.

Americans will still get many of the vehicles that would normally be sold by Saturn but instead they will be rebadged as Buicks. The first of these will be the replacement for the Aura sedan. GM had originally planned to sell the new Opel Insignia sedan as the 2010 Saturn Aura but a new plan will see it launch in the U.S. later this year as the 2010 Buick Regal.

The information was first revealed by an inside source at GM who revealed to Automotive News most of Saturn’s models will go to Buick. When contacted, the president of the Buick-Pontiac-GMC line, Susan Docherty, confirmed that the Opel brand is one that GM will look at for future sourcing.

Docherty also pointed out that even with GM’s restructuring plans for Opel, which could see control of the European division sold to another party, GM would still be able to utilize all of its global architectural platforms.

Buick's short term brand strategy, meanwhile, is resting with the upcoming 2010 LaCrosse sedan. GM is hoping that the new LaCrosse will allow the brand to be competitive in the sedan segment against the likes of cars such as the Acura TL and Lexus ES 350, and eventually being the mid-level premium brand it so desperately wants to be.