Opel hopes to win sales from the Volkswagen Golf as well as compact luxury models such as the BMW 1 series by positioning its new-generation Astra as a near-premium offering that boasts improved fuel economy, a quieter ride plus a wide range of high-tech safety and comfort features.
Those options include matrix LED headlights, which improve night driving on poorly lit roads, ergonomically optimized seats with a massage function and personalized concierge service OnStar with a built-in 4G WiFi network.
“These options are absolutely unique to the compact segment, so that gave us the idea for our advertising slogan: The Astra upsets the luxury class,” Opel Chief Marketing Officer Tina Mueller said. The ad Mueller referred to shows an Astra vaulting over five premium cars in a stunt jump. “Opel has really made a quantum leap between the old Astra and the new one,” Mueller added.
Executives at the money-losing General Motors subsidiary have repeatedly said the new five-door hatchback is crucial to meeting its target of becoming profitable in 2016. This goal has been made more difficult by its departure from the Russian market, its sixth largest worldwide, which accounted for 65,000 Opel sales last year.
The car is 120kg to 200kg lighter than its predecessor, depending on the version, in part because of a revised family of lighter engines. Opel received about 30,000 orders in Germany for the Astra between June and its Oct. 10 market launch, that is roughly equivalent to 13 percent of the model family’s global volume last year.