HOLDEN CONFIRMS OPEL MODELS FOR 2015
- HOLDEN confirms Opel’s Cascada will arrive in 2015, wearing lion badge.
- OPC-tuned performance models, the Astra VXR and Insignia VXR, also returning as Holdens.
- Three-door Astra GTC will also return to Australia.
Holden has today confirmed it will bring a set of familiar Opel models back to Australian showrooms in the first half of 2015, and an all-new face will join them.
Rounding out the set will be the midsized Insignia VXR sedan.
The hi-po Astra and Insignia were last seen in Australia as members of the Opel Performance Centre family, but the exit of Opel from the local market means both will now wear Holden badges.
The switch from ‘OPC’ to ‘VXR’ badges is also no surprise, with the Astra hot hatch already sold here in a previous generation as the HSV Astra VXR.
Curiously, the carmaker has opted to move both models under the Holden banner rather than add them to the HSV stable, again raising questions over the performance house’s future.
Exact timing and price are still to be confirmed, although a number of key technical details for each model form part of today's announcement.
As with the Opel-badged model that came before it, the GTC will be powered by a 147kW/280Nm 1.6 litre petrol engine, mated to six-speed manual and auto transmissions.
In powerhouse VXR form, the Astra gets a meaner 206kW and 400Nm 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine, mated exclusively to a six-speed manual.
The Insignia VXR is driven by the Australian-made 2.8 litre turbocharged V6, offering 239kW and 435Nm of torque.
The Insignia’s turbo engine is matched to a six-speed auto and an all-wheel-drive system.
As for the Cascada, which has never been offered in Australia, the midsized convertible will be powered by the same 1.6 engine that drives the Astra GTC, offering 125kW and 280Nm.
“Astra, Cascada and Insigina will be niche vehicles in terms of volume for our company, and their performance credentials and premium execution are a perfect match for Holden and will provide yet more fantastic choice for our customers,” Holden boss Gerry Dorizas told assembled media today.
“It’s critical we focus on consumer and market-driven product strategies that enable global scale while engaging customers at a local-market level. The Astra, Cascada and Insignia are proof positive of our strategy.”
GM's International Operations boss Stefan Jacoby, also in Melbourne today, said that these three Opel models will perform better in the Australian market than the failed Opel range offered here in 2012 and 2013.
"[We have focused on] lifestyle and high-performance models, Australians like performance," Mr Jacoby said. "These cars will really fit into the Australian market."
He added that the strong Holden brand and competitive dealer network will give the Opel models a boost that was not possible with the smaller Opel dealer network previously operating in Australia.
"That will actually support the sales of these vehicles,” he said.
"Holden is the Australian brand within the GM family," My Jacoby said.
Holden has offered no word on plans for a wider haul of Opel-sourced models, but with a number of the German carmaker’s models to be replaced in the coming year, it could be sometime before any new offerings make it to Australia.
Next-generation versions of the light Corsa and the small Astra have been spied testing in recent weeks, and it is possible that we could see these come to Australia as more premium partners to the Barina and Cruze models.
Likewise, the Zafira people-mover - which was due to launch in Australia just before the Opel brand was unexpectedly cancelled here - has not been confirmed for a launch.
MORE TO COME.
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