With 45,000 pre-orders since September, it doesn't seem like General Motor Co.'s new sixth-generation Opel/Vauxhall Astra five-door hatchback would have a problem with sales.
The model arrived at dealer showrooms in Europe last Saturday, upping the excitement further. The Astra is Opel's most important model and its success dictates what the long-term future of the brand is.
Last year, the fifth-generation of the compact contributed sales of about 438,000 cars, which is roughly a third of the brand's overall volume. Dealers have different ways to spice up their sales approach.
German car dealer Thomas Bieling, who expects to sell 1,600 new cars annually via the five sales points that comprise his Autohaus Bieling dealership, said he is giving away a Christmas tree to those who test drive the car.
The 1.4-liter, 87-hp variant, which was assembled in Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port, England, plant, is priced from 15,900 euros ($23,970).
Astra's top rival, the Volkswagen Golf, starts at 16,650 euros. Another model that will be launched next year is the Astra Sports Tourer, which has been on the news lately due to a conflict between Ruesselsheim's labor force and management over their decision to concentrate all production of the station wagon version in Ellesmere Port.