Friday, 11 February 2011

Vauxhall Antara

It's still a bit of a grim time for new car launches, in all honesty. Winter's a bit depressing, and there's not much activity in the car market, so the dark months tend to not be the best time for new car launches. There is however, one exception to this - it does offer a chance for facelifted models to slip through without anyone really noticing. If you do want to do that, as a car maker, it suggests that i) noone will care if you facelift the car and ii) you don't want people to notice that you've facelifted the car.

If you start doing that with a price cut, it suggests that you have major problems with a product line.

You see, Vauxhall have facelifted the poorly-designed Antara, and replaced it with a slightly less poorly deisgned Antara with a £3,000 reduction in price. The only reason they would give you an updated model for less is if they wanted rid of them.

The Antara started life as a joint venture with, what was at that time, Daewoo, with very few changes between the brands other than a raised price for the Vauxhall. You see, the thing is, when you go on an easyJet flight, there are certain things that they do to make it feel like you're getting good value. So everything is a garish orange, kind of like Dale Winton, and the seats are uncomfortable. It's not because it's any cheaper, it's because it feels cheaper. And Daewoo had the same philosophy.

Except this wasn't an especially cheap car. But it looks cheap. Seriously, the plastic bumper looks terrible, but the price tag isn't that far off what you would be paying for a far better car from other makers, and often it's more than other makers charge for a much better car.

The facelift is so minor I can't even tell you what the differences are from looking at it. You've still got the cheap plastic bumpers, and budget interior that seems to have been specifically designed to make you feel poor, when you're clearly not, having just spent over £20k on a car that isn't particularly good, stylish or desirable when you could have had a much nicer car for less. Throwing money away, that is.

But if I'd bought one of these in the last few months, I'de be tempted to go back to the garage looking for £3,000 back. Not a good strategy from Vauxhall, and particularly nasty at a time when car prices generally are going up.

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