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Barina pricing cut again

Wheel story: The plastic wheel covers give away the fact that the new Barina has lost some equipment, as well as gained some.

Holden has another crack at raising Barina sales with a lower price and standard air

2 Jul 2004

HOLDEN has signalled its determination to reinvogorate sales of its Barina mini car, announcing a model and specification revamp that includes standard air-conditioning and a $13,990 introductory price for the three-door model.

Barinas will now be known as the “3 Door” and the “5 Door”, replacing the SXi and CD respectively, even though those two nameplates had only been around since February 2003.

The sporty SRi continues basically unchanged as a special dealer order only.

The 3 Door will be $13,990 initially, before reverting to its standard price of $14,990, while the 5 Door will be $15,990, before switching back to $16,990.

The SXi was priced from $15,990, while the CD started at $17,990. Those prices were themselves the results of a $1000 cut last January.

Air-conditioning was previously an $1880 option.

It’s not all good news on the equipment front though, with some de-contenting of the cars necessary to hit the new price.

Included amongst those items are the loss of alloy wheel and a leather steering wheel on both cars, while the 5 Door also loses power mirrors.

That comes on top of the recent revelation that Holden quietly dropped active front head restraints from the Barina in 2002.

Mechanically, the car remains unchanged with the Twinport 1.4-litre 66kW four-cylinder engine introduced this year mated exclusively to a five-speed manual gearbox, while the optional four-speed auto continues to come with the old 1.4.

The Barina’s sales spiralled downward in 2003 after dramatic prices rises driven by the deteriorating Aussie dollar to Euro exchange rate. The Barina is built by General Motors’ European subsidiary, Opel.

The Barina was slaughtered in the 2003 sales race by the Toyota Echo and continues to be outsold around 2:1. Holden hopes to get volume for Barina up from around 600 per month to close to 1000 per month with this price and spec change.

The Echo has not sold under 1300 units per month this year. Its RRP in basic three-door 1.3-litre 63kW form is $14,740.

The new generation Vectra mid-size car - also sourced from Opel - went through precisely the same process as Barina when it was introduced in 2003. Holden tried to sell it as a premium car and failed, and has since adjusted pricing back down.

Holden lost the 2003 sales race to Toyota predominantly because of the collapse in Barina and Vectra sales.

“All the associations people have with the name Barina are very positive, it’s just that the car we had been selling was dearer than the competition,” explained Holden marketing director John Elsworth. “Now we have simply addressed that.”

The reduction in Barina pricing comes the same week Holden announced a $4000 price cut for its Commodore wagon-based Adventra V8 cross-over, which has failed to hot sales targets.

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