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Holden extinguishes Spark

Micro management: Holden has cut the Spark after just two years on sale in its current guise.

Spark micro car dropped from Holden’s line-up due to slowing sales

Holden logo23 Apr 2018

By TIM NICHOLSON

HOLDEN has dropped the Spark city car from its line-up after two years on sale, with low volumes and the relatively small step up in price to the Barina light hatch and Astra small car the cause of its demise.

Pricing for the Spark kicked off at $13,990 before on-road costs for the manual LS and topped out at $18,990 for the automatic LT, whereas the one-size-larger Barina starts from $14,990 for the base manual LS and hits $20,390 for the auto LT.

Holden’s consumer website currently has retail offers of $19,990 driveaway for the base 2017 demonstrator Astra sedan and hatch, while the 2018-plated Barina LS is priced at $15,990 driveaway.

“Holden has recently made the decision to remove Spark from its line-up to continue to better meet customer tastes,” Holden senior manager of product and brand communications Mark Flintoft told GoAuto.

It marks another departure from the shrinking micro-car segment following the demise in April 2016 of the Nissan Micra and the loss of the Suzuki Celerio in mid 2017. Fiat dropped its Panda in late 2015.

The only models left in the segment are the ageing Mitsubishi Mirage and Fiat 500, as well as the top-selling Kia Picanto, which has found 1184 homes to the end of March this year, more than tripling the haul of the Spark (313 YTD).

In the year of its launch, 2016, Holden sold 1760 Sparks, but it was beaten by the Picanto (it launched one month after the Spark) which found 1934 homes, while the Mirage was the top seller with 3064 units sold.

That result changed last year with the Picanto taking top honours on 3323 sales followed by the Mirage with 1563 and the Spark on 1227. Fiat sold 872 500s in 2017.

The Spark is built at GM’s Changwong plant in South Korea. The company has confirmed the closure of its Gunsan plant, which is where Holden sources its Astra sedan, and it will confirm the fate of the other two plants – including Bupyeong where the Trax is built – within the coming weeks.

The Spark – which replaced the Barina Spark – benefited from Holden engineering input in developing the suspension and ride and handling tune, both in Australia and in South Korea where it was built. As a result, the Spark was praised following its March 2016 launch for superior driveability against its middling rivals.

It is powered by a 73kW/128Nm 1.4-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine paired with either a five-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission.

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