AFTER a slow start in the mid-1990s, Holden’s Opel-sourced Astra ended up being a big success.

But its best year, 2005 (34,218 units), also marked the beginning of its downfall as combined Astra and Viva (rebadged Daewoo Lacetti) sales dried up. Cruze replaced both in 2009 and hit a sales peak of 33,789 units in 2011, but slipped to 18,554 last year, and is down a further 18 percent this year. It seems new Astra can’t land here soon enough. For a preview of its prospects, turn to page 38 of this issue.