It’s no secret that General Motors’ Australian Holden brand is undergoing some major changes. The biggest changes including ceasing local production at the Holden Elizabeth factory to become a national sales company. Just as important, however, is a top-to-bottom restructuring of its vehicle line, including the introduction of the new Commodore NG/ZB, the launch of two new crossovers – the Equinox and Acadia, and the introduction of the new Astra compact car family to replace the Cruze range.
The Astra family will consist of three body variants: the five-door Astra Hatchback, the five-door Astra Sportwagon, and the four-door Astra sedan. The first two are sourced from Europe via GM’s recently-sold Opel-Vauxhall division. The two vehicles are sold in Europe under the Astra and Astra Sports Tourer names, respectively. The new Astra sedan, meanwhile, is not at all an Opel product. Instead, it is a right-hand-drive Chevrolet Cruze sourced from GM Korea. Though the three vehicles are nearly identical from a mechanical standpoint (since all three ride on the same GM D2 platform), the design of the hatch and sport wagon differ from that of the less premium sedan model. But that’s neither here nor there.
The point is that the Astra family has completely replaced the Cruze range for Holden in Australia and New Zealand, after just one generation of vehicles.
The GM Authority Take
Though we understand Holden’s objective to give its new compact range a new image by using the (relatively) new Astra name, we have to wonder whether the Cruze name and associated brand were ever a problem to have gotten rid of it entirely. After all, the Cruze range did sell well or decently, depending on the year. And without Opel, next iterations of the Astra family will most likely be nothing more than rebadged and slightly tuned variants of the Chevrolet Cruze family.
Interestingly, prior to its replacement by the Astra, the Holden Cruze range was available in the same three body styles – sedan, five-door hatchback and five-door wagon… the same variants offered by the new Astra family.