New Holden Barina Spark Revealed, Australian Debut Confirmed Photo:
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Mike Stevens | Apr, 02 2015 | 3 Comments

GM’s New York show continues today with the unveiling of the new Spark hatch, debuting on the heels of yesterday’s new Malibu.

Importantly, today’s unveiling also brings confirmation that this new model will launch in Australia in the first quarter of 2016.

The news of an Australian debut follows speculation that Holden could instead look to the new Opel Karl (also known as the Vauxhall Viva) as a replacement for the current Spark.

“It is very exciting to see the future of Holden’s smallest model," Holden sales boss Peter Keley said today.

"It’s easy to see why we are so confident the all-new Spark will stand out from the competition and continue to attract a younger set of buyers to the Holden brand."

As a replacement for the heavily angled Spark currently offered in Australia, the new model introduces a more organically styled look.

The Spark also shares a number of styling cues with the Karl, including identical winows, door panels and rear-end styling.

“The Spark has grown up,” said Australian-born Mike Simcoe, former Holden design boss and now GM’s global vice president of design.

“It retains its youthful flair, but reflects the maturation of the global micro-car market and customers’ desire for richly styled and highly contented choices.”

The new Spark rides on a slightly longer wheelbase than the current model, while sitting 40mm lower to deliver a more sporting look and greater fuel efficiency through an improved aerodynamic profile.

A new architecture, shared with the Opel Karl, underpins the new Spark, promising a stronger structure, more dynamic handling and a quieter ride.

Holden says it has also been working on the new Spark locally, tailoring its suspension and steering for local conditions and tastes.

“Even though this is a truly global car our engineers have been working hard to tailor the vehicle to ensure it resonates with our customers in Australia,” Holden’s Ian Butler said.

“The car will feature unique suspension and steering tunes following thousands of kilometers and months of extensive work at our Lang Lang proving ground and on public roads.”

“We made sure the car remains fun and agile but will now deliver even more sophistication.”

Holden also promises a new more premium feel to the Spark’s interior (still to be shown), with upgraded materials and greater attention to fit and finish.

“I believe this car will set a new benchmark in this highly competitive segment,” Peter Keley said.

For the Spark, setting a benchmark will mean selling far more cars than the current model has been able to achieve.

Never a top seller, the Spark’s 220 year-to-date sales place it well behind the segment-leading Mitsubishi Mirage (658) and the Fiat 500 (497), although it leads the Micra (175) and a combined 218 sales for the outgoing Suzuki Alto and new Celerio.

MORE: Spark News & Reviews | Holden | Light Cars

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