Holden has been forced to drop the price of its new Astra less than two months after it went on sale.
Speaking ahead of the 2017 Detroit motor show, Holden managing director Mark Bernhard revealed that the Astra range will be cut by between $250 and $1700 depending on the model.
The new Opel-sourced Astra went on sale at the start of December, effectively replacing the Australian-made Cruze, and was sold on its premium, European heritage.
However, from launch only the models powered by the 1.4-litre petrol engine were available with an automatic transmission, with the higher-specification models equipped with the more potent 1.6-litre petrol engines offered in manual-only until March 2017.
Bernhard admitted it has been a "complicated" launch for the model but is confident that cutting prices is the right move and will see the new small car become a big player in the segment against the likes of the Toyota Corolla and Mazda3.
"What we've done over the last month is we've listened to feedback from media, from dealers and looked at customer enquiry and based on that we're taking an opportunity to look at where the pricing is," Bernhard explained. "Part of that will be a price rollback that's different by trim level. We've been very focused on what our trim level is to the competitive set."
Bernhard also confirmed that Holden will refund the price difference between the old and new amounts to everyone who has already bought an Astra.
But he also admitted that as part of the price cuts the company has taken a detailed look at what equipment customers want and deleted some items.
"If customers don't value you them, then yeah [we'll cut equipment]," he said.
The biggest changes have been focused on the automatic models, with the entry-level R getting a $1700 cut and the RS and RS-V autos dropping $1450 each.
While it is a major change for the company, Bernhard is confident that the change is the right one.
"I now thinks that makes it the most compelling vehicle in the small car segment. It stacks up extremely well against all the [rival] product," he said.
And he played down the suggestion that Holden messed up and got the pricing wrong for its critical new small car.
"I don't think we got the pricing wrong, we were obviously very confident with the product," he explained.
"As you look at pricing it's not a science, there's a lot of art to the way you price a vehicle. You look at the competitors, you look at the product you've got and certainly media feedback, [and] the product is an exceptionally good product. You look at the features in our product relative to the features in competitor products. You look at how that product fits in within your overall portfolio, and for us we've got a hatch, which we know is a premium hatch coming from Europe. But we've also got a sedan, so we need to look at the whole portfolio."
Updated Holden Astra pricing
R manual - $21,490 (-$500)
R automatic - $22,490 (-$1700)
R Plus manual - $22,740 (-$250)
R Plus automatic - $23,740 (-$1450)
RS manual - $26,240 (-$250)
RS automatic - $27,240 (-$1450)
RS-V manual - $30,740 (-$250)
RS-V automatic - $31,740 (-$1450)
MORE: Holden News and Reviews
VISIT THE SHOWROOM: Holden Astra Models - Prices, Features and Specifications