Vauxhall and Opel cars will get a new, very different and all-encompassing grille and lights design, to underscore their move to the PSA Group and mark their new independence from former owner General Motors. The design is to be showcased on a concept named Vauxhall GT X Experimental, which the brand is in the process of revealing, ahead of a full unveil later this year.
The concept, described by Vauxhall as 'daring', is pitched at the mid-2020s. Its frontal treatment, dubbed Vizor, has been created in the Vauxhall-Opel design centre at Rüsselsheim and replaces a style regarded for some time as too conventional. The move aims to match the frontal treatments on future cars with the ‘pure and bold’ shapes PSA believes it has already adopted for its most modern designs.
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The Vizor grille is likely to appear in production for the first time on the all-new Vauxhall Corsa when it moves to PSA’s small-car platform for 2019. The new look will be displayed for the first time on a highly significant concept that’s under final development. Due to be revealed in the autumn, but not at the Paris motor show, the concept incorporates many design influences from the recent GT Concept coupé.
Vizor is the result of early brainstorming sessions that subsequently drew submissions from Vauxhall-Opel’s entire design department, according to design boss Mark Adams.
It incorporates what Adams calls “the compass”, a cruciform layout formed in the horizontal plane by high- tech, wing-style headlights (a Vauxhall-Opel tradition since the Insignia appeared in 2008) and vertically by the marques’ traditional bonnet and front spoiler centre crease, with a round Opel or Vauxhall badge at its epicentre.
Adams describes the Vizor project as “liberating”, since it means the Anglo-German brands need no longer preserve a relationship with Buick, which has disparate buyers in China and the US, as well as Europe. The marques are improving and “sharpening” other aspects of their image to mark the fact.
“Our vision for Vauxhall and Opel cars lacked one thing: a unique face,” explained Adams. “Up to now, our grille proportions have been too conventional, with an aspect ratio too similar to that of other brands. We wanted a face that worked just for us, and now we have it.”
The design of the Vizor grille is accompanied by the creation of an all-glass fascia panel, dubbed Pure Panel, which carries clear design influences from the Vizor frontal treatment but with different proportions.
“We’ve incorporated all the technology the modern driver needs,” says Adams, “but in a simple way. We’ve tried to ditch complexity and amplify the ‘pure’ theme we want in our designs. This is digital detoxing for cars.”
Work on Vauxhall-Opel’s new interior and exterior treatments was presented to PSA chief Carlos Tavares last December. Once the winning themes were chosen, much work was done to make sure they could function in many different iterations and could be adapted to different vehicle styles and duties.
New nose shapes the future:
Design boss Mark Adams’ remark that designing a new grille and nose is “liberating” is an important guide to its deep significance to the future of Vauxhall and Opel.
Adams has loyally overseen the creation of designs that, looking back, have had an enormous task: to seem home-grown in Britain, Germany, America and China at the same time. The new Vizor face willcarry the same modernity Adams’ designers have steadily brought to the rest of their cars’ shapes. No one is saying when we’ll see the new nose, but it’s hard to see the all-important Corsa (due next year) missing out.