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New Astra will reduce service content

Longer service intervals - two year/20,000 miles (petrol) or two year/30,000 miles (diesel) - on GM's new 5th-generation Astra will be determined by a warning system that takes the individual's style of driving into account when indicating when maintenance is due.

The extended intervals suggest some private buyers may see visit dealer workshops only once towards the end of the warranty period, barring breakdowns – the chance of which GM has been keen to minimise, in pursuit of a quality reputation equal to that of its key rival, VW's Golf.

Many components in the new Astra – such as the fuel filter on petrol engines and the belt drive to the auxiliaries or the battery – are maintenance-free, and there is no need to change cooling system fluids, air conditioning or transmission oils during the lifetime of the vehicle.

New Astra 5-dr hatchback production starts next month at Ellesmere Port in preparation for the model's 1 May launch. £80 million has been invested in production facilities and training there over and above what was spent on the new Vectra, bringing GM Europe's total up-front bill for the new Astra to over £700 million. Besides Ellesmere Port, the hatchback is already building in Germany, while the estate version will be built only at Bochum.

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