Vauxhall’s influence on the compact class has been enormous ever since the launch of the first Astra in the UK back in 1980. The company has enjoyed a prolonged and dominant presence in the segment for nearly 25 years, with 2004 marking the launch of the fifth-generation of Vauxhall’s best seller.
Ever popular with both private and company car buyers, in the UK alone Vauxhall has sold nearly 2,000,000 Astras. As recently as 2002, over 102,000 Astra variants hit the UK roads in that year alone.
With each new model generation Vauxhall has set out to break new ground within the class for technology and styling. On these criteria alone, the all new Astra is another milestone in a segment which, with annual sales of around four million units, accounts for 22 per cent of the total Western European car market.
The five-door hatchback version of the new model goes on sale in the UK on May 1. A practical estate with an extended wheelbase follows in the autumn and the stunning three-door hatch – first seen as the GTC Concept at the Geneva Motor show last year – makes its debut in spring 2005.