California Autos Examiner

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Euro Killed the Astra Star

In the forthcoming issue of Automotive News, General Motors officials admit that the Euro / Dollar exchange rate has stalled the Astra. The peppy, Belgium built hatchbacks were originally slated to start at $15,500 but are have been hiked to $16,495. Profitability has also suffered, so you can imagine that the $1,000 increase that GM tacked on wasn't really enough, but all that it could realistically pass on to the consumer. GM's employee pricing sale has temporarily lowered the 5-Door XE down to $15,204.88 and that in turn boosted Astra's monthly sales up to 1,994 in August. For a little perspective, Saturn sold 888 Astras in June and 1,555 in July. If Saturn could maintain sales of around 2k/month, it would be reasonably close to hitting its sales target of 25,000/year. The next U.S. Astra will be built in North America, more than likely Mexico, so it will be far more competitive. I really hope that Saturn continues to offer a hatch, in addition to a sedan, for our market once the new model arrives (much like Ford will be doing for the next Focus and forthcoming Fiesta).

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