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Holden doubles up with Astra

Poles apart: Holden has an ongoing supply of "Classic" Astras courtesy of a GM plant in Poland.

Holden plans to sell the current Astra alongside the new version

12 Jul 2004

HOLDEN will continue to sell a cut-price "TS" Astra Classic sourced from Poland alongside the new generation "AH" version when it is launched here in the fourth quarter of 2004.

There is no end date put on release of the Classic because it comes from the Gliwice plant where production is ongoing, rather than GM’s Antwerp plant, the traditional source for Aussie Astras.

The Classic has been on sale since the start of July as a sedan and hatchback.

Selling the old model in tandem with the new version is rare in Australia, but an accepted marketing strategy overseas.

While it is sometimes done when moving to a new nameplate, in this case it signals a price rise for the new Astra.

It also reflects Holden’s desire to offer buyers more than one Astra bodystyle, as AH will initially only be available as a five-door hatchback.

This is also the latest in a series of revisions that Holden has introduced in the new financial year, slashing the price of the Barina light car and the Adventra V8 cross-over.

These moves are an obvious sign of Holden’s determination to get back on terms in the sales race with Toyota, the clear market leader.

Maintaining Astra volume is an important part of such a strategy. It is Holden’s second most popular model and has run a consistent number two to Toyota’s Corolla in the small car segment.

The Classic hatch and sedan will sell from $18,990 while the CD Classic sedan will start from $21,990, both now with standard air-conditioning, while the CD also gets ABS and traction control.

Automatic transmission is a $2000 option for both models.

This is introductory pricing, with the actual RRP set at $19,990 and $22,990 respectively, although Holden is not saying when the offer expires.

That’s still below the outgoing pricing though. Currently the City five-door officially retails for $20,990 and the CD sedan for $23,990. Air-conditioning adds $1880.

The Astra Convertible will remain on sale while the other TS Astra models - CDX, SXi, SRi and SRi Turbo - will be phased out over the coming months.

Both Astra Classic models are powered by a 92kW 1.8 DOHC four-cylinder engine,teamed with five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.

Other standard features include driver and passenger airbags, pyrotechnic seatbelt pretensioners and six-speaker Blaupunkt CD stereo.

Astra CD Classic gets 15-inch alloy wheels, while the base model upgrades from 14-inch to 15-inch steel wheels as part of a $990 option pack that also includes ABS, traction control and front and rear power windows.

There are no significant deletions from either version.

In a press release, Holden’s marketing manager passenger cars, Alan Blazevic, said the Astra Classics would enable Holden to continue to cover various price points and suit the broadest possible range of Astra buyers.

"Astra is a consistently popular performer and remains Holden’s second biggest-selling passenger car. Holden has sold more than 120,000 Astras since the TS was introduced in 1998," Mr Blazevic said.

13 center image"The reaction to the new AH Astra in Europe has been fantastic and we believe there will be a place for both bodystyles in the Australian market when it is released here.

"We will introduce the AH model in hatch bodystyle, as we did with the current Astra. The range will be extended over time as they become available from Europe."

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