Here are new spy pics of Vauxhall’s first foray into the premium small car market, the Vauxhall Junior. It's a city car designed to compete directly with the Mini and Fiat 500.
The car, which is already in its final development phase and will go on sale in early 2013, was spied during further testing this week.
At just 3.7 metres long — the same as the Mini — the Vauxhall Junior will be made only as a three-door hatchback, as shown in the exclusive artist's rendering in the gallery.
The car has been in GM Europe’s cycle plan for years. It was almost killed off two years ago by GM’s then world chief Ed Whitacre, who believed at the time that global programmes should get priority. However, following extraordinary transatlantic representations earlier this year by European CEO Nick Reilly, who strongly emphasised the success of, and durable demand for, cars like the Mini and Fiat 500, the management changed its mind.
With the Mini and Fiat 500 as inspiration, the Junior’s styling is cute and appealing. It features comparatively narrow pillars, a low beltline and large, rounded headlights.
It looks less obviously like a Vauxhall/Opel family member than some current models, with its short wheelbase and unusually wide tracks giving it a squat, sporty look. It also features a convex rear window reminiscent of the original Ford Ka’s, and an arched roofline like that of an Audi A1.
The design is the work of the Vauxhall/Opel studio in Russelsheim. Although it is focused on European motorists, GM marketing chiefs believe the city hatch could sell well in Asia and Latin America.