Holden launches European models
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Holden New Zealand has launched the first of its European line up as it refocuses the brand here.
With local production ceasing in Australia in 2017, the GM-led car company will instead launch 24 new models over the next five years, with 30 per cent of its product sourced in Europe.
The first vehicles from the Germany-based Opel family are the Astra hatchback and the Cascada convertible.
The Astra three-door will be available in three variants, starting with the 1.6-litre GTC (from $38,490) and the GTC Sport (from $41,490), both models available paired with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.
The Astra VXR sports hatch is priced from $49,990 with the 2-litre turbocharged petrol only available with a manual transmission.
Holden New Zealand’s new managing director, Kristian Aquilina, wouldn’t talk how many of the performance cars would sell here this year but stressed at the Australasian launch on the Gold Coast that the cars were niche products.
“The volume is small but meaningful,” said Aquilina.
Holden NZ reckons the Astra GTC range will be competing against the Hyundai Veloster, Mazda3’s SP25 and Toyota’s 86 coupe, while the VXR will go head-to-head with Renault’s Megane RS, VW’s Golf GTi and the Ford Focus ST.
The Cascada will compete with the Golf cabrio and Audi’s higher priced A3 convertible.
Aquilina acknowledged that autumn-winter was not the ideal time to sell a convertible and he would have preferred to have the soft-top on sale in New Zealand earlier this year.
The Insignia is rumoured to be the Commodore’s replacement once manufacturing of the large sedan stops in Australia, but Aquilina told the media at Gold Coast launch that Commodore won’t be replaced “by one car, it’s a number of cars” such as the burgeoning SUV segment and pick-ups.