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Opel targets VW Golf, Ford Focus with new Astra lighter


Opel AstraOpel has made its new Astra lighter, roomier and more agile to help the car compete better in climes heavily contested compact car segment against rivals including the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus.

The brand on Wednesday published the first official picture of the next-generation Astra, which will be a key launch to help the General Motors’ money losing brand achieve sustainable profitability.

Opel showed the Astra as a heavily camouflaged car that CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann said in a statement would have a “fantastic design.” “It’s awesome.

It will redefine the compact segment with German engineering, best-in-class connectivity and emotional design for a very affordable price.” Neumann said in a video presentation about the car.

The company said the Astra would have substantially more space in the cabin despite the body’s shorter dimensions. Engineers have reduced the Astra’s weight, which will make the car more agile and more fuel efficient, Opel said in the statement.

The Astra will offer the brand’s latest fuel efficient engines. The Astra, which will also be sold by Vauxhall, Opel’s sister brand in the UK, will go on sale in October, a month after its debut at the Frankfurt auto show.

Opel did not give any technical details of the Astra. Reports have said it will be up to 150kg lighter than the current car and will be offered as a five-door, three-door and station wagon like the current model. It will be the first new Opel model to be launched with GM’s OnStar connectivity package.

The Astra was traditionally Opel’s highest volume model but it surrendered the title last year to the Corsa subcompact. European sales of Opel/Vauxhall Astra increased by 1.5 percent to 46,915 in the first three months, according to JATO Dynamics.

Corsa sales rose by 21 percent to 78,361. VW Golf sales were up nearly 3 percent to 132,815 in the quarter while the Ford Focus volume was slightly down by 0.4 percent to 60,739.

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