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Holden on to Cruze moniker
Holden will use Cruze name for the 2010 hatch in the wake of the sedan’s strong sale
8 Sep 2009
HOLDEN has dismissed speculation that the Astra nameplate might be revived for the Australian-built Cruze hatch that is set for release towards the end of next year.
Responding to a report in GoAuto last week, Holden chairman and managing director Alan Batey suggested that the unexpectedly high take-up of the Cruze sedan would most likely mean a single naming policy for the whole small-car range.
“The Cruze has gone off really well,” Mr Batey said. “The nameplate has got unbelievable recognition. Unbelievable. So it’s all working for us. You do not throw that away. You move forward and not back. “And so the success of the car, and the way it is doing, and the awareness that we have been able to build on that nameplate is probably as successful a launch as we have had in many, many a year. It’s all come together really well.” However, while Mr Batey confirmed that the Astra name was definitely not destined for the hatch, he would not rule out the long-lived small-car nameplate for future Holden product.
“You never say never,” he said. “But I can say to you that it is not in our plan. It is not our plan to localise our Delta (Australianised Cruze project) and call it an Astra. It is not our plan.”
Mr Batey said the Cruze had not only established itself as a top ten player in only a matter of months, but the Korean-built sedan was already scoring highly for customer satisfaction.
“We went out and researched 250 owners that have bought the car since the launch (asking) ‘would you recommend this car’, because word of mouth is so important. And it went off the chart!” However, Holden’s marketing director Philip Brook admitted that the Cruze’s successful launch has caught the company short of stock, with some customers having to wait until as long as December for delivery.
The outcome, Mr Brook revealed, was that the September and October sales numbers were unlikely to match the 2000-odd monthly units that the Cruze range has managed since May. "The Cruze is a much bigger success than we expected. We are doing much better than we expected. We have more forward orders than Commodore.
"(But) we ran out of stock in August, so September will be down. Sales will pick back up in November and December.” The introduction of more variants, including the hatch and a much-speculated 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine – should be enough for the Cruze to eventually leapfrog opponents such as the Mazda3. “We’ve always said that (the small car class) is the biggest segment of the market,” Mr Batey said. “And if you’ve got a car that’s out there leading, then that car can be doing 3500 to 4000 per month. So the bandwidth’s big, which we always knew that’s what the opportunity was, so now we’ll see where we fit within that bandwidth.” The Holden boss is confident that the Cruze sedan will be able to maintain its strong sales momentum leading up to the launch of the hatch in the last quarter of 2010.
“We’ve had two months of 2000 (units) and honestly – hand on my heart – it would have been dramatically bigger than that if we had availability,” Mr Batey asserted.
“The interesting thing is, and this is what’s great, is that we are seeing people coming in understanding what the car is, and then they say ‘yeah, I want the car’.
It’s not one of those purchases – which is never where you want to be – where everything is interchangeable between four things that are very, very close. “The Cruze sort of has its own niche and clearly here in Australia, being the largest small car available in Australia, is a good place to be, because more room is better for all the reasons we know.”
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