Latest Version Of Vauxhall’s Popular Hatch Is An Astra-nomical Success

The news just keeps getting better for Vauxhall, and especially the latest version of its best-selling Astra hatchback.

Not only is the latest model of this perennial favourite the current holder of the prestigious title ‘European Car of the Year’ after a vote among a distinguished panel of motoring journalists ahead of the Geneva Motor Show, but this award is merely the icing on the cake for the model, which has also been given top honours by major company vehicle publications Fleet News and Fleet World.

It has also been honoured as a ‘game-changer’ for the UK automotive industry by Autocar magazine, and is in the running for the title ‘Best compact family car’ from rival publication Auto Express.

The Astra made a cracking start to 2016 at the Geneva Show vote, when Vauxhall/Opel CEO Dr Karl-Thomas Neumann was on hand to receive the honour as the Astra beat off more than 40 new models, and emerged triumphant from a final shortlist of seven.

The technology incorporated in the car has also impressed a host of top motoring writers and industry experts, with its OnStar connectivity suite, providing links to high-speed 4G mobile networks, and other valuable features such as emergency response notification and technology designed to help recover the vehicle if it is stolen helping the Astra earn awards for best new car technological innovation from both Auto Express magazine and Businesscar.co.uk, a website for business fleet managers and company car drivers.

Moving The Game On

All these prestigious honours have combined to persuade Autocar to bestow the Astra with one of its ‘Game-Changer’ awards as part of its own sought-after annual honours.

This marks out the Astra as the car considered to have taken the biggest leap forward and set the most ambitious new standards for other manufacturers to try to follow.

The latest Astra’s suite of technology-led features, such as its OnStar personal on-board assistant with smartphone interface and automatic crash response, which sends an automated call to the emergency services and information about the car’s whereabouts if it detects a serious incident, is considered to be in the vanguard of new car safety technology.

“The new Astra has taken a quantum leap forward over the previous generation and has put Vauxhall back in the running in one of the most competitive sectors of the industry,” said Jim Holder, Autocar’s Editorial Director.

Barely a month earlier, the car was voted Best New Car at the annual awards from Fleet World magazine, which pits against each other the leading car manufacturers in the fleet supply market - a sector which, in 2014, the most recent year for which figures are available, accounted for almost half (47.5 per cent) of all new car registrations.

The success of the car has brought a great deal of pride to the workforce at General Motors’ factory in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, which proclaims itself to be the ‘Home of the Astra’. The plant produces 30 Astras every hour, and saw its five millionth car roll off the production line in December 2014.

In preparation for the production of this latest model, the workforce at the plant expanded to more than 2,000, while its success also feeds through into thousands more jobs in the supply industry in Cheshire and Merseyside.

Course Is Set For More Success…

While there’s an awful lot riding on the continued success of the Astra, the signs that it can continue its winning streak are promising.

The string of honours is “testament to the hard work that has gone into the Astra [in] the new model’s first full year of sales,” according to Vauxhall Chairman and Managing Director, Rory Harvey.

Meanwhile, the car is on display at 06Vauxhall’s showrooms in Ormskirk and Skelmersdale, so pay us a visit today, and we’ll be happy to arrange for you to take a test drive, which will help you appreciate just why it has got off to such a flying start.