Vauxhall has confirmed that a plug-in hybrid version of the Grandland X will arrive in 2020, placing the electrified variant at the centre of ambitious growth plans laid out by its parent, the PSA Group.
The brand will launch an electrified version of every model in its range by 2024, starting with an all-electric Corsa in 2019. The Grandland X PHEV is predicted to become Vauxhall’s biggest-selling electrified model when it arrives, meaning its success will prove pivotal in adapting the company’s line-up to the evolving new car market.
The Grandland X is already Vauxhall’s second-best-selling model after the Corsa, although its current engine range comprises just two turbocharged units: a 1.5-litre diesel and a 1.2-litre petrol. Autocar understands that the Grandland X’s plug-in powertrain will be based on a petrol engine rather than a diesel one; this comes as little surprise given the recent rapid reduction in demand for diesel cars in Europe.
Vauxhall remains tight-lipped as to which petrol unit will be used. While the Grandland X is available with a turbocharged 1.2 three-cylinder engine, it’s possible that a larger unit will be used for the PHEV model. One candidate could be the boosted 1.4-litre four-pot offered with the Astra that produces up to 148bhp on its own.
The brand's electrification plans will be supported by heavy investment into the production facilities of its continental sibling, Opel. PSA has already started a five-year investment period that will expand research and development facilities at Opel’s Eisenach, Rüsselsheim and Kaiserslautern sites in Germany.
This investment will also see Grandland X production extended to Eisenach from mid-2019, when two shifts will be operated in order to meet projected demand. This plant will also handle production of the PHEV version. Currently, the Grandland X is produced in Sochaux in France and Walvis Bay in Namibia.
The PSA investment will also enhance Vauxhall/Opel’s overall SUV production output, with the segment being of top priority because it represents an unmatched opportunity for growth. PSA already has a strong foothold in the SUV segment, with cars from its brands accounting for 16.9% of market share in Europe so far this year.
This growth and investment, along with the arrival of the Grandland X PHEV, appears to remove job security concerns at the company's German locations. Opel CEO Michael Lohscheller said: “We will ensure long-term utilisation of our German sites and thus protect employment — and this well into the next decade — with attractive models and high-quality components.”
The future of Vauxhall’s Luton plant was recently secured when PSA announced that it will continue producing vans — the Vauxhall Vivaro, Citroën Dispatch and Peugeot Expert — for more than a decade. The future of the Ellesmere Port facility, where the Astra is made, will be confirmed in 2020.