Holden has sliced up to $1700 from the price of its Astra hatch as sales of the new small car fail to entice its Australian audience.
In a small car market that slipped 3.7 per cent in 2016 and is dominated by the Toyota Corolla, Mazda3 and Hyundai i30, the November-born Astra five-door amassed just 448 registrations before a price drop.
The announcement by Holden that the Astra hatch would be reduced in price by between $250 and $1700 came as General Motors unveiled its new Astra sedan at the 2017 North American International Auto Show, confirming an Australian May arrival.
Holden launched the five-door Astra – a replacement for the Australian-made Cruze hatchback – in November last year and was bullishly optimistic about its future.
At its Australian launch, Holden general manager of product marketing Ben Lasry said the company was "totally confident” the new Astra could "propel Holden right to the top of the small car segment."
To top the small car sales charts, it meant Astra would need to sell more than 30,000 units per year, or about 2500 per month. The model sold only 155 units in December.
Holden has now reduced the price of the entry level Astra R manual by $500 to $21,490 plus on-road costs, while the biggest reduction is on the automatic version that has seen a chop of $1700 to $22,490 plus on-road costs.
Holden admits it's a tough game competing with the existing market leaders.
Astras fitted with the Safety Pack are $250 cheaper for manual gearbox variants, and $1450 less for automatics. The same reductions are seen across the mid-spec Astra RS versions – now $26,240 for the manual and $27,240 for the automatic.
The top-spec Astra RS-V has seen the same reductions with prices falling to $30,740 for the manual and $31,740 for the automatic.
Most of the price reductions are seen in automatic transmission variants, though Holden said there will also be some reduction of equipment on entry-level models including the removal of side skirts.
In a sound effort by Holden to keep the faith with existing customers, purchasers of the Astra hatch prior to the price cut will be reimbursed the difference.
Holden's executive director of sales Peter Keley, speaking at the Astra's November launch, said the 30-year heritage of the Astra nameplate in Australia would ensure strong demand.
In regard to this week's price cut Mr Keley said, "This is what it takes to win in our fiercely competitive market.”
Holden admits it's a tough game competing with the existing market leaders, and the task may be made harder during its transition from a domestic manufacturer to a full-model importer.
The new Astra price list went into effect from January 9.
2017 Holden Astra pricing*
R down $500 to $21,490
R (a): down $1700 to $22,490
R Safety Pack: down $250 to $22,740
R Safety Pack (a): down $1450 to $23,740
RS: down $250 to $26,240
RS (a): down $1450 to $27,240
RSV: down $250 to $30,740
RSV (a): down $1450 to $31,740
*Excludes on-road costs.