Future Models - HSV 2006 Astra VXR
HSV says no to Astra Coupe
Off the agenda: HSV is considering options other than the four-cylinder Astra Coupe.
HSV scotches another four-cylinder project - the turbocharged Astra Coupe
6 November 2001
HOLDEN Special Vehicles has decided against selling the hot turbocharged Astra Coupe under its banner in Australia.
Instead, the company is mulling over a V6 version of the Astra as it moulds a strategy to expand beyond a single-line, predominantly V8 manufacturer.
If the coupe - which is made in the same Bertone factory as the just-released convertible - is to come to Australia, it seems it will have to be sold as a Holden.
That would add another Astra line to the stable, alongside the three-door, four-door, sedan, SRi and convertible. But the coupe would be the top performer, pumping out 140kW at 5400rpm and scooting to 100km/h in 7.5 seconds.
HSV had enthusiastically talked up the coupe as an avenue to a younger market.
But it is now the second four-cylinder project it has recently scotched, following on from its decision not to go ahead with the narrow-focused Speedster.
"The coupe's a fantastic car but at the end of the day we want to be sure that when we do extend the HSV model range beyond Commodore and the long-wheelbase car, the car is immediately recognised as an HSV," said HSV general manager Chris Payne.
"We've driven the car, it's a sweet little car with a great engine and great powertrain, but we're considering our options, considering what our next model should be.
"At the moment we are content with what we have and I don't think there is any demand out there that says we have to be rushing into doing something different."
Mr Payne also admitted the pricing of the Astra Coupe would have been a challenge.
"One of the key reasons for the success of HSV is the price competitiveness of our cars for what you get for the money. The four-cylinder market is relatively price sensitive and a four-cylinder sporty two-door coupe, a four-cylinder car, at $40,000-$45,000 you're talking about WRXes, Nissan 200SXes and they are really good cars," he said.
"And I think people have an expectation from HSV that we would have the best car in the category for the price that we could market, so again it gets back to wanting to be sure that when we do fire off into a different segment we have a sure-fire winner."
One option could be a 2.6-litre V6 Astra. The powerplant can fit into the engine bay and Mr Payne said the option was being investigated.
"Provided it's not just a big engine thrown into a car that's not capable of handling it in dynamic ways," Mr Payne said.
"It's a study that we are looking at at the moment."
But HSV's short term six-cylinder focus will be on the XU-6, which is expected to get a power lift to 200kW in 2002 from the current 180kW.
That would tally with persistent rumours that Holden's supercharged 3.8-litre Ecotec engine will be boosted when the VY is launched in the third quarter of 2002.