Holden communications director Sean Poppitt confirmed the brand’s locally based engineers have been working on the new five-door Astra hatch for around three years, contributing their expertise in all areas of its development and ensuring it will meet the demands of Australian buyers.
“The really critical part is that our engineers have been involved in this project since its outset,” Poppitt said.
“They’ve been on international rides, they’ve been involved in all the engineering discussions, so we’ve had our voice heard loud and clear throughout the local development of this program.
“The way the global organisation works is that a homeroom provides bandwidth and markets can choose the spec levels, some of the mechanical elements, some drive-related elements to suit their market. We’ve been involved in that since the outset so Astra will be a car that feels perfectly at home on Australian roads.”
Poppitt said the huge improvements Holden’s engineers made in the step from Cruze to Cruze Series II earned praise around the world, and this time around General Motors insisted on having the local team involved in every step of the Astra journey.
“[With] Cruze Series II we did quite a lot of work to that locally that was then adopted globally, so certain transmission calibrations, and certain suspension tweaks that we did in Australia were adopted around the globe.
“From here on in we are certainly in on the ground floor with all of the product programs that will be coming to Australia. Some will need more work than others to get to what we feel we can give our customers, and others like the Astra will come pre-loaded as an incredibly well-sorted car.”
Along with working on the car’s overall development, Holden’s engineers will have the opportunity to separately fine-tune elements of the Astra in the lead-up to its launch around September/October next year.
Steering, suspension and transmission calibrations will all be on the table for the local team to tweak to get the balance they feel is best suited to our market.
Holden has high hopes for the new Astra five-door hatch, which returns to the brand’s stable after a seven-year absence, with Poppitt confirming it was aiming for “the pointy end” of the sales charts alongside the likes of the Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3, Hyundai i30 and Volkswagen Golf.
Stay tuned for our review of the new Astra hatch, which will be published at 8:01am on September 22.