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Vauxhall Astra Set To De-Throne The VW Golf?


It may have been some time coming but it seems that Vauxhall’s (Opel) Astra may no longer be seen as the also-ran of the compact hatch fraternity.  Based on current sales forecasts the Astra will take second place from the Ford Focus in Europe’s compact volume segment in terms of overall sales generated. It may not end there, The Astra could even challenge the VW Golf as Europe’s compact hatch of choice.

There is a small caveat to be had with the compact hatch sector, its actually declining in market share, at its 2005 peak 4 million compact hatches were sold across Europe. In 2015 3 million compact hatches were sold, by 2018 sales are forecast to fall to around 2.8 million.

The decline is occurring as consumers move towards buying premium compact hatch’s but the biggest segment winners are likely to be compact SUVs and crossovers. The new Astra was launched this year and is significantly upgraded over the previous generation.

The key to the Astra’s rise is the adoption of the latest technology trends such as Apple Carplay, Android Auto, WiFi Hotspot and in-car communication systems. Vauxhall is forecasting to shift around 300,000 Astra units in Europe by next year.

Every new generation Astra launch is accompanied by a three door version however this time around it may not be the case. The three door compact coupe is a declining segment, the cost of tooling such a car while keeping costs low enough to make a profit is very marginal.

One way of keeping costs down is to share platforms another way is to reduce the amount of engine variants offered. Vauxhall have dropped the 2.0-litre and 1.3-litre units from the previous generation Astra and now offers a single 1.6-litre unit in three power derivatives.

Will the new Astra take over from the VW Golf as the Europe’s compact hatch of choice? No but the Astra will run the Golf very close.


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