Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Aussie Small Car Salvo

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Aussie Small Car Salvo

Article excerpt

HOLDEN has effectively doubled its small car arsenal by introducing a hatchback version of its Australian-made Cruze that will be available with the same three engine and trim choices as the existing sedan.

Given that the five-door is priced the same as the four-door a from $21,240 for the 1.8-litre CD manual a it could be expected that Holden is hoping to build on the Cruze's sales success which vies for small car supremacy with the Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla.

Holden executives, however, will not be drawn on whether the strengthened Cruze range will take it to the top of the small car tree, let alone pip its Commodore large car as Australia's best-selling car.

aWe will sell as many as we can sell profitably,'' said marketing director John Elsworth at the launch of the Cruze hatch.

aWe're not going to talk forecasts, because forecasts can go wrong.''

Holden expects the hatch to account for about 55% of Cruze sales, although some of these would go to customers who might previously have bought the four door.

Holden has increased the output of its South Australian plant from 430 to 480 vehicles a day, including Commodore-based models for domestic sales and export, with the Cruze accounting for 185 vehicles a day.

Potential buyers can expect a hatchback that is about 100mm shorter than the sedan, with a sharply angled rear window line and a wide-opening tailgate, but not one with much in the way of discernibly different driving characteristics.

The three engine choices (1.8-litre petrol, 2.0-litre diesel and 1.4-litre turbo petrol) are the same, as are the choice of manual or optional six-speed automatic transmissions.

Suspension and steering bushes have been retuned to compensate for the extra weight of the hatchback's rear window which gives the Cruze a higher centre of gravity, but only to bring it back to par with the sedan's handling ability. …

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