Currently reading: New Vauxhall Corsa design secrets revealed
We talk to Vauxhall design chief Mark Adams, and Corsa boss Andreas Zipser, to find out how the firm hopes to re-take the top spot as the UK's best-selling car

The new Vauxhall Corsa is closely related to the outgoing car in many ways, but features all-new body panels, suspension, steering and interior architecture.

Vauxhall's latest version of its compact hatch is priced from just £8995 as Vauxhall aims to usurp Ford in providing the UK's best-selling car.

We find out how it was developed from Vauxhall/Opel design chief Mark Adams and the Corsa’s programme manager, Andreas Zipser. 

Q&A with Mark Adams

You’ve made big changes to the interior - what was the thinking behind this?

"The oldest thing in the old car was the interior - it was the most disconnected in our portfolio. So we wanted something new, but retaining the space of the old car’s cabin. People are downsizing, but they don’t want to give up on sophistication." 

The exterior is more evolution than revolution...

"The key thing with the Corsa is that we have a lineage, so we looked at it and asked, what do we want to keep? The four-metre footprint is critical, and so is the interior space. We wanted to bring it up to date, so we used a combination of fluid, sculptural shapes and crisp feature lines - it flows but it’s also precise and controlled. 

"For me, a small car really depends on the “eyes” and getting the details right, so the front end is very important." 

Is it just a case of grafting the front end of an Adam onto the Corsa?

"We wanted to get away from the old car’s double-decker grille and give the it a single focal point, to bring the car down and make it wider. 

"Dropping the grille allows for a wider grille and bigger headlamps - cars with tiny grilles can look like they’re kissing." 

Small cars are now equipped like big cars - is it a challenge to fulfil buyer’s expectations?

"It’s a huge challenge. Small cars have to appeal to the widest customer group and they’re competing in mainstream segments where you can’t charge premium prices. 

"It’s a tightrope, every day, doing these cars - you have tougher cost targets. And small cars won’t get any bigger, so we have to fit a lot more into the same package."

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Q&A with Andreas Zipser

Tell us about the changes to the parts we can’t see.

"It’s slightly longer than the outgoing car, by 20mm - and 5mm lower - and underneath the suspension has been completely changed. The subframes are all new, and the rear torsion beam has a new profile. We’ve changed the steering too; the car’s new electrical architecture meant we could upgrade the way it behaves." 

What were you trying to achieve with the changes?

"We focused on improving comfort and the ride - those were our priorities. We wanted to make the powertrains more refined, too - the three cylinder has had 40 parts acoustically optimised to improve NVH. 

"The diesels have new cylinder heads, new injectors - they’re almost new engines." 

There’s a lot of equipment in this car - how much more can you add?

"From a technical point, you can do just about anything, but we have to find a sweet spot between equipment levels and packaging, and markets. UK buyers like heated screens, so the car has one, and it won’t be offered in other markets."

Does the similarity between the new car and the old one worry you at all?

"No, I’m not worried - in fact, I think the similarities are a good thing. In the past drastic changes have been because our cars have been less successful; the Corsa’s silhouette is very recognisable and that’s helpful." 

Dan Stevens

Read more about the new Vauxhall Corsa

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Add a comment…
Elendil 11 October 2014

Design Secrets!!!!!

Possibly the most inaccurate title for an article in Autocar history.

What design secrets? the last Corsa was a boring car design, the "new" one has no design secrets at all.
The amazing thing being that someone owns up to "designing" the new one!

erly5 11 October 2014

Lower price point to increase sales

Vauxhall know the only way this Corsa will become the best selling car in the UK is if it is cheap as chips. How 'helpful' the Corsa's similarity to the previous generation will be in achieving this ambitious sales target remains to be seen. This strategy may work in the short term but this re-hash of an 8 year old design is bound to date quickly in light of more modern and stylish rivals.
winniethewoo 10 October 2014

Gm let 13 people

awful car. Gm let 13 people die by ignoring a problem with a faulty ignition switch, something that top level people knew about for a decade. it eventually required the firing of 15 top executives and engineers, and the recall of almost 10 million cars to correct. Awful culture, awful company, awful products.