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by Tim Beissmann

Opel Australia’s new managing director has shed more light on the brand’s initial launch range, and the good news is there will be plenty of choice for light, small and medium car shoppers.

Opel Australia chief Bill Mott confirmed the Corsa, Astra and Insignia were all on track for launch in the second half of next year, expected to take place from late in the third quarter or sometime in the final quarter of 2012.

Starting the range will be Opel Corsa. It will initially be launched in both three- and five-door hatch body styles with a 1.4-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine.

In the UK, the Corsa’s 1.4-litre engine produces 74kW of power and 130Nm of torque. It is teamed with four-speed automatic and five-speed manual transmissions. Combined cycle fuel consumption is between 5.5 and 6.3 litres/100km, which will increase marginally under Australian standards.

“Corsa is an iconic car in Europe,”Mr Mott said. “Over the last three years it’s sold on average more than 400,000 units a year and has been the best-selling three-door model in the light segment.

“In Australia we’ve already had extremely positive feedback on Corsa in our customer research and we think it’ll become one of the most important models in our local line-up.”

The Opel Astra will be available from launch in five-door hatch and Sport Tourer wagon body styles with three turbocharged engines: 1.4- and 1.6-litre petrol engines, and a 2.0-litre diesel. The Astra three-door will not be offered locally.

The 1.4-litre turbo is the same unit from the locally produced Holden Cruze. It produces 103kW of power and 200Nm of torque. Six-speed manual and automatic transmission options are expected to be offered, with combined cycle consumption of around 6.5 litres/100km.

The 1.6-litre turbo engine produces 132kW of power and 230Nm of torque. Average fuel consumption will be higher than the 1.4-litre (around 7.0 litres/100km), but the additional 29kW/30Nm will lead to performance enhancements.

The 2.0-litre diesel engine generates 121kW of power and 350Nm of torque. Teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission, the combined cycle fuel consumption for the UK-spec Astra is around 6.0 litres/100km. It is also available with a six-speed manual transmission with start/stop technology, helping fuel economy increase to around 4.7 litres/100km. Opel Australia is yet to confirm the precise transmission options for our market.

“Astra is already a much loved nameplate in Australia with previous models selling under sister brand Holden between 1996 and 2008m,” Mr Mott said. “So people might know Astra, but they don’t know this Astra.

“Astra brings its own interpretation of Opel’s award-winning design language – ‘sculptural artistry meets German precision. It has a strong coupe-like silhouette and a very sporty look which makes it much more exciting visually than traditional hatchbacks.”

The flagship model will be the Opel Insignia, which will go on sale in Australia in four-door sedan and Sports Tourer wagon body styles, but not the five-door hatch. Two 2.0-litre turbocharged engines will be offered: a direct-injection petrol and a diesel. Both engines will be mated with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The petrol engine produces 162kW of power and 350Nm of torque. Combined cycle fuel consumption is expected to fall between 8.0 and 9.0 litres/100km. The Diesel engine produces less power (118kW) but equal levels of torque (350Nm), and from lower in the rev range (1750-2500rpm).

Opel is yet to confirm whether the front-wheel drive Insignia models will be joined in Australia by the all-wheel drive variants. Full vehicle specifications will be revealed closer to next year’s launch.

As previously reported, Opel Australia will be co-located at GM Holden’s Port Melbourne headquarters but will operate as a separate business entity. The dealer network will be revealed in the coming months, with an initial focus on key metropolitan markets.




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