The new models will join the Holden line-up in 2015, though the Astra GTC and Astra VXR and Insignia VXR (formerly OPC) were previously sold in Australia by Opel before the German offshoot of General Motors pulled out of the Australian market in 2013.
The announcement comes almost four months after CarAdvice exclusively revealed Holden's intentions to reintroduce the Astra and other European-built models to its line-up.
As was the case when the cars were sold under Opel’s guidance, the Astra GTC three-door model will offer buyers a warm-hatch experience with a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing an expected 125kW of power and 280Nm of torque. The front-drive hatch will be offered with six-speed manual and automatic transmissions, and in its previous guise – with an older-generation engine – it was sold from $34,990. However, no further details have been made available at this stage.
The more manic Astra VXR is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo with 206kW of power and 400Nm of torque, which sends its power to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. Previously, this car was sold at $42,990. It’s unclear what price Holden will charge for the Astra VXR, which will be one of the most powerful hot-hatches on the market.
The new Holden Cascada convertible will give the brand its first convertible offering since the slow-selling Tigra small drop-top ceased to exist in 2007.
The Cascada model – which was scheduled to go on sale in Australia as an Opel model by mid 2014 – will feature a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with both six-speed manual and automatic transmissions available. The front-drive drop-top features a cloth folding roof and is large enough for four adults.
The Insignia VXR sedan, which is powered by a turbocharged 2.8-litre V6 petrol engine (built in Australia by Holden) was previously sold at $59,990. The sedan comes with a six-speed automatic and all-wheel-drive as standard.
Holden chairman and managing director Gerry Dorizas admits the new models aren’t going to sell in big numbers, but says they give Holden a range of offerings the company wouldn’t have otherwise had access to.
“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,” Dorizas said.
General Motors executive vice president and president of GM International Operations (GMIO), Stefan Jacoby, said the news is proof that GM wants Holden to remain a top-tier player in the Australian market.
“Holden is one of the strongest brands in Australia and the introduction of the Astra, Cascada and Insignia to the portfolio in 2015 will be a great addition,” Jacoby said.
“We are determined to offer Australian and New Zealand customers the best possible products that we can source from our global operations, as we build a strong future for Holden.
“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,” Jacoby said.
As has been well documented, Opel’s aspirations in the Australian market were short-lived, with the German offshoot of General Motors only selling its products in Australia for 11 months.
Since that brand’s demise it has long been suggested that Holden would fill gaps in its own range with a number of former Opel models, and as CarAdvice has previously reported, the next-generation Astra hatchback range is expected to join the fray from around 2016.
There are still some evident gaps that Holden could fill with Opel models, however, including a seven-seat people-mover such as the Zafira Tourer - which CarAdvice recently revealed was set to go on sale with a $36,990 price-tag.
The Zafira seven-seat MPV was destined to be sold by Opel in Australia, but despite importing more than 120 examples of the car, it was never launched to the public. However, some examples of that car can still be found in Holden forecourts across the country.