December 23, 2008

Horse 942 - Holden, All But Confirms My Suspicions

The new small, front-wheel-drive, four-cylinder vehicle to be built by GM Holden at Elizabeth will be based on General Motors' global Delta small car architecture.
Other examples of the architecture will include the next generation Chevrolet Cruze and Opel, Vauxhall and Saturn Astra.
The architecture was primarily developed by GM Europe in Russelsheim, Germany for GM markets around the world.

Further details about the vehicle including its nameplate, design specifications and pricing will be determined closer to the time of production.
Given the competitiveness of the small car segment, key decisions will be made to ensure the first Australian-made small car choice for many years will be a compelling one.

Holden is acting coy isn't it? It makes the announcement that it doesn't have all of the specifications of the car that it's going to produce. I can be a little presumptuous here because I'm not employed by the General though.

Below is a photo of the 2007 Astra Sedan.

Bear in mind that this is the Astra H sedan and we will be building the Astra I (the reasons why will come later in this piece), nevertheless this is important to the story.

The Astra H came out in 2004 and had to sit along side the Vectra C which was at that stage 2 years old. The Vectra C itself received a facelift mid-2005 to bring its design language up to speed with Astra H BUT the Astra H had not at that point actually had a sedan derivative.

Now the Vectra C itself has been replaced and been replaced with the Insignia.

It's probably fair to assume that because the Astra always followed the Vectra but brought the styling up to date, that it will do the same for the Insignia. The Astra I will I suspect follow the styling of the Insignia to a degree and the the Insignia mid-way through its model life. You can already see part of that design language thrust onto the grille of the sketch that came with Holden's official announcement.

You can probably bet that the Australian built Astra I will replace the current Astra H and the abominable Viva in one swoop; probably have a sticker price of about $22,990 and be powered by a 1.8L and 2.0L petrol, a 2.2L Turbocharged engine and a 1.7L tubrodiesel. Holden won't be reinventing the wheel at all, and because they'll need to look at export markets, it will be identical to everyone else's. More than likely because of Australia's predilection for four door sedans, we're probably likely to build the Astra I sedan here and import the hatchbacks as per existing agreements.

This I find amusing:
Further details about the vehicle including its nameplate
When the news went around yesterday, on Angela Cattern's Drive program and PM which came of after the 6 o'clock news (on ABC 702 Sydney), people were mainly concerned about what the new car was going to be called. Names such as Torana, Gemini and amusingly Bogan were thrown about. As far as I'm concerned, that's the least important part of the car - It's Astra I, by any other name... it's still an Astra.

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