Family hatchback will get a new name when it's uncovered in London in 2008
8 March 2007

Next year’s London motor show is being tipped to scoop a major global launch for General Motors — that of the Vauxhall Vectra replacement – and can bring you exclusive first spy shots of the car fully 18 months before the covers come off. The next-generation family hatchback's design was previewed by the Opel GTC concept, which is on show at Geneva this week. Our spy shots (see gallery), taken through the gates of Opel's European HQ, reveal how much of the GTC's styling will transfer to the finished car.A great deal of the GTC's grille will make it into production. You can see that the concept's swept-back headlights, broad grille and, interestingly, its fang-shaped twin air intakes are all part of the styling of this early development car, admittedly in slightly toned-down forms. There's no sign of the GTC's low, sweeping roofline, however, which looks like it'll be saved for the road-going coupe version.

London debut

The launch plans for the Vectra replacement were discussed by GM executives at the Geneva show this week. Several of them said that positive feedback from the Corsa's British unveiling has put London in pole position to grab the Vectra launch. "It is not quite finalised, but you should expect the new mid-sized car to launch in Britain,” said one executive.The news will be welcome to British car fans and the organisers of the London show, increasing the profile of London at the expense of Geneva and Paris, which might have expected to host the launch of GM’s vital mid-sized car.

Another surprise

Visitors to London in 2008 can expect another surprise: a name change for Vauxhall’s dramatic new Mondeo challenger. GM chief Carl-Peter Forster has already confirmed the Vectra name will die, possibly to be replaced by Insignia, when today’s model goes out of production.Showgoers will also be pleased that the production car’s styling will be close to that of the dramatic GTC coupe concept. The choice of a coupe is also an indication that a Calibra replacement is part of Opel's plans.Key details of the ‘face’ of the concept, its interior, body surfacing and clever rear-end shape are expected to make production on the new Vectra. “We’re showing new design cues for all future Vauxhalls with the GTC concept and although this design is exactly that, a concept, it is a strong pointer to all our future models,” said Mark Adams, a Briton who heads GM exterior design in Germany.The gaping upper and lower grilles and wraparound headlamps are all production-ready, as is the new ‘hockey stick’ feature pressed into the door skin.

Julian Rendell

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