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Holden Kills Off Astra!

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From Drive.com.au:

Holden has all but officially confirmed it will ditch the European-built Astra small car from its local line-up.

Holden has all but waved goodbye to the Astra small car, admitting that unfavourable exchange rates mean it’s unlikely the 22-year-old nameplate will continue beyond the hundreds of cars waiting to be sold.

The announcement comes after Drive’s exclusive revelation that Holden had instructed dealers to cease ordering the small car that’s consistently been Holden’s second biggest seller behind the locally made Commodore.

The move to drop Astra from the Australian lineup car means Holden will be without a small hatchback for at least a year. It will also miss out on the sleek new Astra that goes on sale in Europe in 2009.

The just-released Holden Cruze small car will initially arrive only as a sedan, effectively replacing the Viva and Astra ranges before it is built locally next year.

“Astra’s been a great car for us … but the reality is … we have to do what we have to do to get profitable in the marketplace,” said Holden marketing director Alan Batey. “We’re not going to build cars here to make a loss.”

“Your marketing dollars can only go so far. We had a Viva in a sedan, hatchback and wagon. We had an Astra hatchback, coupe, twin-top, sedan and wagon.

“Half of our problem was proliferation.”

Asked if Astra was unlikely to continue in Australia, Batey said: “in the environment we’re in today the answer’s yes”.

Batey said the Cruze was crucial for the success of Holden.

“150 per cent of our focus is on launching this car (Cruze).”

Holden will begin building a localised version of the Cruze alongside the Commodore from 2010.

Holden has more than a month’s stock of Astras still to sell, but most were built in 2008 and are being sold at a discount to the recommended retail price.

“They were bought in before the (foreign exchange) rate turned,” said Batey.

How sad - as much as I really want to slam this decision, if Opel gets sold then Holden needs to be prepared, however the Cruze just isn't good enough a replacement.

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Asrta's a better lookign car IMO (and you guys know how I feel about the Cruze), but I se the point of eschewing it in favor of a locally-produced car. It'll keep Elizabeth humming even if Commodore sales completely tank across the globe. And they don't have to deal with exchange rates.

GMNA should consider taking the same approach with the Zeta cars. Build 'em as close to the intended market as possible.

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