The all-new Astra GTC replaces the successful Astra Sports Hatch, and will lay down the gauntlet to VW’s Scirocco and Renault’s Megane Coupe when it appears in showrooms at the end of November 2011 with a heady mix of dynamic excellence, dramatic design and competitive pricing.
Closely based on last year’s stunning GTC Paris concept, the Astra GTC enters the UK market – the biggest in Europe for this model – priced from just £18,495, nearly £1,350 less than the basic VW Scirocco. But even in entry-level trim, the Astra GTC adopts the sophisticated HiPerStrut front suspension derived from the Insignia VXR, offering precision handling and unmatched stability.
The third body style to come off the Astra’s Delta platform (following the Hatch and last year’s Sports Tourer), the only exterior design elements the GTC shares with its siblings are door handles and the roof aerial – even the wheelbase and tracks are different. Brit, Mark Adams, Vauxhall’s Vice President of Design, has aimed to create a car that looks like it’s been plucked from the class above, with its low, wide stance and simple, yet rakish lines.
UK Coupe market & rivals
Vauxhall’s current Astra has already laid down successful foundations on which the GTC can thrive. In 2010, it was the UK’s second best-selling car overall, as well as the best-seller in its segment, with sales of 79,330, beating both the Focus (76,892) and the Golf (62,912).
The Astra’s lower medium segment is the second largest in the UK, accounting for 20.9 per cent of the total new car market, and coupe and three-door hatch sales make up 11.7 per cent of this segment (figures based on YTD April ’11).
And in previous years, the Astra Sport Hatch – GTC’s predecessor – dominated this class. In 2007 and 2008 it out-sold its nearest competitor by three-to-one, and up until last year was still the clear leader with total registrations of 11,451 in 2010 (Scirocco was 2nd, Audi A3 3rd, Megane Coupe 4th).
Overall in this segment, fleet and retail sales are split evenly at around 50:50 per cent and the GTC is expected to account for around 20 per of all Astra sales, much like its predecessor.
Naturally, the three key rivals Vauxhall identifies for the GTC reflect the main players in the current market: Volkswagen Scirocco, Renault Megane Coupe and the Audi A3 3-door. However, given the GTC’s premium design and sophisticated underpinnings, Vauxhall also expects the BMW 1-Series to be potential competition.
Vauxhall’s traditional rival, Ford, has already announced that there will be no three-door Focus, giving the GTC a real advantage in this arena.