Vauxhal will make a stripped out Astra VXR to rival the new Renault Megane R26 R
23 July 2008

Vauxhall is ready to build a stripped out version of the Astra VXR, to rival the new Renault Megane R26.R.

Sources say Vauxhall’s engineering team are considering using lightweight materials like polycarbonate windows, losing the rear seats and binning sound deadening materials in order to create a faster, more focused hatch.

However if such a version did make production, like the Renault, it would be a special limited edition rather than a full-scale production model.

Chas Hallett

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Vauxhall Astra 2009-2015

The Vauxhall Astra is one of the best-looking hatchbacks, but average dynamics and performance hamper its overall appeal

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23 July 2008

I don't know in what volume the Megane R26R sells, I'm assuming the numbers are small. Vauxhall must have done their homework and think the markets big enough to go down this road.

Don't know about others but I don't see many of the standard VXR on the road, I can count on the fingers of one hand the number I have seen. Therefore, is it worth doing?

23 July 2008

Ooh - yes please. Mind you - the standard Astra VXR is already good - thanks to the VXR trackday program I actually know this from personal experience. Less weight would make it brilliant if the handling stays as solid.

Best trackday Vauxhall gets fitter? I want one.

23 July 2008

I asked the VXR Product Mgr about that. He said that the VXR program is about consciousness as much as it is about selling large numbers of cars. Vauxhall wants teenagers (and people like me) to talk/blog/post about VXRs, thus putting Vauxhall (back) into everyday car-aspiration conversation.

He'd love to sell 200000 a year - so would Renault - but as long as he can get reps to say "my son likes this - it's got the same engine/chassis/indicator stalk as the VXR", and if Giovanardi and his buddies can keep putting VXRs on the BTCC podium, something called "premium brand positioning in the target segments" will do very nicely, thank you.

That's why there is a Meriva VXR in the range. Product sales of 95 units a year "don't even pay for the badge", according to the man.

Brave guy.

23 July 2008

Car makers have indulged in this kind of sports-derived marketing thinking pretty much since there have been car makers. You do wonder whether it actually holds any water as a strategy, especially bearing in mind the considerable spend involved. F1 is the best example - does the untold hundreds of millions that it costs to go racing with Bernie actually pay for itself as an investment by adding that much or more to the bottom line? Personally, I have my doubts. It is also difficult to imagine that the fact that a Meriva VXR exists actually does anything for overall Meriva sales. I know a couple of Meriva owners and they are not exactly petrolheads.

25 July 2008

I think the principles discussed above work for the Astra, especially the 3 door model, in terms of making it more aspirational. It certainly helps that the 3 door Astra is already a great looker, even in base trim, and not massively dissimilar to the VXR. However, I don't think the same principal applies to all modles - specifically the Meriva.


11 August 2008

As usual......Vauxhall copy other manufacture's

Im pretty sure no rear seats and poly windows is going to knock 20odd seconds off an already more powerful hot hatch

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