"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."
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."
Read more about the new Vauxhall Corsa
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