European General Motors subsidiary Opel on Thursday said it has about 50,000 European orders for the new Astra ahead of its official launch on Saturday.


Dow Jones noted that Opel has been offering a discount of more than €1,000 on a package of options including air conditioning and an on-board computer in an effort to generate demand ahead of the compact’s appearance in dealer showrooms.


An Opel spokesman reportedly said there were no plans to continue incentives on the Astra following the launch.


Dow Jones said the Astra is the chief competitor to Volkswagen‘s Golf and Opel’s aggressive tactics were seen as dampening demand for the redesigned Golf, which was launched in October.


Following Opel’s early-bird offer Volkswagen announced it was adding free air conditioning to the Golf, which is seen as overpriced, the report added.


Dow Jones said the influential German car magazine Auto Motor und Sport in its latest issue rated the Astra above the Golf, chiefly because of the Astra’s cheaper price.