Aussies say bye-bye Ba­rina

Hamilton News - - DRIVEN.CO.NZ -

Streuth mate, the flamin’ Ba­rina’s gone. No, not stolen; ac­tu­ally gone. Holden has of­fi­cially axed its small car sta­ple af­ter 33 years on the show­room floor. De­clin­ing sales in the com­pact city car seg­ment — amid a host of other is­sues for the once-mighty car brand — sped the de­par­ture along.

Although Holden isn’t giv­ing me­dia any spe­cific an­swer on what was the straw that broke the hatch­back, it says it will con­tinue to sup­ply parts for the model.

Through a suc­ces­sion of badgeengi­neer­ing deals with Suzuki and GM out­liers Opel and Dae­woo over the years, the Ba­rina has never ac­tu­ally been a “true” Holden un­der the skin. That’s not to say it wasn’t once pop­u­lar. Suzuki-based MF and Opel-based SB and XC Bari­nas were the first car for many Aus­tralasian learner driv­ers, as well as su­per­mar­ket shop­ping trol­leys in a world be­fore afore­men­tioned Suzuki came back with the uni­verse-beat­ing sec­ond­gen Swift in 2005.

Now even Holden’s mid­dling Trax out­sells Ba­rina in its home mar­ket, as the dom­i­nance of the cross­over com­pact SUV reigns supreme. Holden’s other small car, the As­tra, is also a much bet­ter ve­hi­cle than the Ba­rina, but over­looked by buy­ers head­ing to­wards Mazda and Hyundai show­rooms.

How long there­fore, does the As­tra have be­fore it faces a sim­i­lar

sce­nario? As long as Opel’s new own­ers, Groupe PSA, see value in the brand main­tain­ing a hatch­back of its own, we can pre­sume Holden will too. But for Holden fans, un­less it’s a Colorado, it seems the longevity of any name­plate is no longer a given.

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