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Vauxhall In Huge New Model Blitz

By raccars Published

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General Motors has used the opening of the Frankfurt Motor Show this week to announce an ambitious new model plan for Vauxhall and Opel in Europe, totaling no less than 29 new cars by 2020. A new electric vehicle and SUV are a key part of the brand's future line up, according to GM chief, Mary Barra.

GM plans for a new, technologically advanced large SUV to join the Insignia as Vauxhall / Opel's flagship model in Europe. It will be built in Germany and take the place of the existing Antara, which is under performing in the important SUV segment. The new model will use a platform provided by Vauxhall's parent company and used by its Ypsilon supermini. GM also plans to share components between the new European SUV and a new Cadillac in the US. The company is currently considering relaunching Cadillac in Europe, including in right hand drive format.

Two more SUVs are also planned under the Vauxhall brand, the first to be released in 2016 to sit alongside the Mokka, and another, larger SUV, due the following year. Both will use PSA Peugeot Citroen sourced platforms.

Few details were released about the new electric vehicle announced by Barra, but it will be a separate model to rather than a replacement for the Chevrolet Bolt. The GM boss revealed that the company is aiming for Vauxhall / Opel to take an 8% share of the European market by 2022, and plans to achieve profit margins of 5% before tax and interest.

After years in the financial doldrums, GM expects to break even in 2015, a task which won't be made any easier by the decision to withdraw from an unprofitable Russian market. However, the statements made by Barra at the Frankfurt event emphasise how important Vauxhall is to the GM stable of brands - GM's European chief, Karl Thomas Neumann, claims that Vauxhall is GM's most significant and biggest European market.

The new Astra will also be a key player in GM's plans for its European division and will be built in the UK at Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port plant. GM claims that this is because the British factory is producing the highest quality work the company has ever seen, despite facing closure only a couple of years ago. Neumann, appearing with Barra in Frankfurt, suggested that the upcoming new Astra would cut a swathe through the market and cause premium brand chief executives a few sleepless nights, demonstrating a notable step up in quality, styling and image. It certainly looks very smart, featuring plenty of modern technology and a spacious passenger cabin. It will be launched in hatchback and Sports Tourer estate versions. Currently, the Astra is Vauxhall's second best selling model in the UK behind the Corsa supermini.

Along with its new model offensive, GM is planning to develop new engine families. Modern powertrains engineered to be more efficient and lower in CO2 emissions face a shorter life cycle than earlier products, as manufacturers struggle to keep pace with changing clean air regulations.

Vauxhall claims that the funky Adam city car has been successful in attracting a new, younger demographic to the brand and, with the Mokka crossover, has reshaped Vauxhall's audience. The company has already announced that it would be working with Peugeot to develop a new version of the Meriva and Zafira MPVs, in the form of crossovers rather than the traditional people carriers.

A bold new Insignia is planned for 2017 which, along with the aforementioned new models, should see Vauxhall displaying its strongest product range for decades.

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