Aussies say bye-bye Barina
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.