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Holden drops Barina
After 33 years on the market, Holden kills off Barina nameplate
18 Sep 2018
GM HOLDEN has dropped the Barina light hatch from its line-up, bringing to an end its 33-year run on the Australian market.
While the original Suzuki Swift – which was rebadged as the first Barina – arrived a year before the Holden in 1984, the Suzuki disappeared from the market from 2000 to 2005, ensuring that the Barina holds the title of the longest-running nameplate in Australia’s light-car segment.
A Holden spokesperson confirmed with GoAuto that the Barina would not continue as part of Holden’s model line-up.
“We are focused on bringing world-class vehicles across SUV, LCV and passenger segments that resonate with our customers,” the spokesperson said.
“We have our best-ever range across all key segments, including Colorado, Commodore, Astra and Equinox, with the all-new seven-seat Acadia SUV just around the corner.
“Our Barina customers will continues to have the highest quality service from our Holden dealers.”
It is unclear when Barina sales will end, but it is still available on Holden’s consumer website.
It follows Holden’s decision in April this year to discontinue the one-size-smaller Spark micro hatch after just two years on sale.
A number of other car-makers have cut their light- or micro-car models in recent years, including Nissan’s Almera and Micra, Suzuki’s Celerio and Fiat’s Panda and Punto.
Meanwhile, Ford has opted to import only the sporty ST grade of the new-generation Fiesta in the first half of next year.
While Holden has not revealed the reason for dropping the Barina, light and micro cars traditionally have low margins and dealers can struggle to make much of a profit on these types of vehicles.
Barina sales are actually up by 6.2 per cent this year, with Holden shifting 2329 units to the end of August. It is currently eighth in the light-car segment behind the Hyundai Accent (10,842), Mazda2 (7748), Toyota Yaris (6473), Suzuki Swift (5495), Honda Jazz (4916), Kia Rio (4675) and Volkswagen Polo (3051).
It is unclear if the decision to drop the Barina was related to reports that General Motors has decided to drop the Chevrolet Sonic, which is built in a different GM plant (North America and Thailand as opposed to South Korea for the Barina) but shares its underpinnings with the Holden.
As GoAuto reported back in April, The Wall Street Journal had quoted an unnamed GM source as saying that the Sonic would be killed off before the Impala large car.
The current, sixth-generation South Korean-built Barina launched in late 2011 and was given a mid-life facelift in late 2016. The model was penned by Holden designer Ondrej Koromhaz while he was on assignment to GM Design Korea .
In the same period, the sub-$25,000 light-car segment has dropped from a tick under 130,000 sales a year to just under 80,000 in 2017.
The first- and second-generation Barinas were rebadged versions of the Suzuki Swift, but Holden switched sourcing for the third- and fourth-gen models to GM’s European outpost Opel in 1994.
This changed again in late 2005, following GM’s takeover of struggling South Korean car-maker Daewoo, with Holden using the Daewoo Kalos as the basis for the fifth-gen car.
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