Safety first for Ba­rina

Stan­dard side airbags lead the charge to safety in Holden’s Ba­rina, writes PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

SAFETY is the new buz­zword for the Holden Ba­rina. Af­ter scor­ing a twostar rat­ing in ANCAP test­ing, a new and im­proved Ba­rina is now claimed to be bet­ter in a crash.

The Ba­rina is still ba­si­cally a Dae­woo car­ry­over de­sign, not one of the forth­com­ing global GM ve­hi­cles, but it has been up­graded with side airbags and more body re­in­force­ment in a mid-life change that in­cludes the pre­dictable facelift­ing work to the body and cabin.

‘‘We are try­ing to ad­dress the safety in the car,’’ GM Holden’s di­rec­tor of mar­ket­ing, Phil Brook, says.

‘‘In our view, we have made some sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments from a safety point of view. It’s the only car in its class with stan­dard side airbags— and has some changes to the struc­ture of the car. It’s a way of ad­dress­ing any con­cerns about safety.’’

Brook says Holden will not do­nate a car for an up­dated NCAP test be­cause it be­lieves its work is more than good enough.

‘‘We de­sign the car for real-world tests and NCAP is only one mea­sure. Ob­vi­ously, we would pre­fer a bet­ter safety im­age.’’

The lat­est Ba­rina comes with a slight price in­crease at a time when GM Holden says it is strug­gling to keep pace with Aus­tralian de­mand for the car.

‘‘We have peo­ple scream­ing for them,’’ Brooks says. ‘‘Given we have them, the car is good for prob­a­bly 1200 units a month. It varies from 900 to 1200, de­pend­ing on stock.’’

Brooks says Holden has lifted the bot­tom line on the Ba­rina, but the in­crease is down to im­prove­ments and the costs of the airbags and raw ma­te­ri­als.

‘‘It’s up at re­tail by about $800. It’s to cover the cost of a num­ber of changes,’’ he says.

The lat­est Ba­rina has a new grille and changes to the head­lights and tail-lights, as well as a cabin in­clud­ing an up­dated in­stru­ment panel, con­sole and new seat fabrics.

The new-look dash has a four-cir­cle in­stru­ment clus­ter with matt-chrome trims.

Prices run from the three-door hatch, from $14,490, to the four-door sedan and five-door hatch from $15,990. The ma­jor op­tion is an­ti­skid brakes with al­loy wheels at $1190.

‘‘It’s what we would call a mi­nor change to this par­tic­u­lar gen­er­a­tion of Ba­rina,’’ Brook says, hint­ing that the all-new re­place­ment is about two years away and def­i­nitely part of the global GM prod­uct push.

At a cost: the up­graded Ba­rina range will rise in price by about $800. There is more body re­in­force­ment and a facelift to the body and cabin.

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