Fleet News

Sintra reaches the end of the road

VAUXHALL is axing its Sintra MPV in the UK in anticipation of huge demand for its new seven-seater Zafira. Last year the company sold only 4,000 Sintras, compared to a 1999 sales forecast for the Zafira of 15,000 vehicles, rising to 25,000 next year - about half of which will be into the fleet market.

Ian Coomber, Vauxhall's sales and marketing director, said the company had always had limited targets for the Sintra. 'There is also the situation with the Sintra plant in Doraville, Georgia, which is being stretched to meet heavy demand in the US, so it is sensible that we concentrate on Zafira in the UK, allowing the US plant to fulfil its commitment to its home market. We expect the arrival of the Zafira to create as significant a change to the market as when the hatchback was introduced in the 1970s. This is a very exciting vehicle.'

Already Vauxhall has ordered the Bochum production plant in Germany - where the Zafira is built on the Astra floorpan and power train - to increase European output for this year from 120,000 to 145,000. This is expected to increase to 200,000 next year. Vauxhall says the arrival of the Zafira will spark a revolution in car design - with its sliding seat structure allowing a shift from one to seven seats - resulting in the Zafira-size segment growing from about 2% of the European car market (about 280,000 units) to more than 10% by 2005.

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