If you’ve ever toiled for nothing, you’ll understand the predicament in which Vauxhall and sibling Opel found themselves in November 2017. By then, a heavily refreshed Vauxhall Corsa was three years in the making and ready to go in engineering terms and, despite a prognosis for slowly declining commercial success, it was expected to make a decent splash.
Then the PSA Group – French manufacturing giant and owner of Peugeot, Citroën and the reborn DS – bought Opel-Vauxhall from GM for £1.2 billion and the decision was made to ditch the Vauxhall Astra-platformed model, which had already been more or less signed off, and instead build a new new Corsa on the CMP platform due to underpin the Peugeot 208 and DS 3 Crossback. The project’s chief engineer, Thomas Wanke, insists it was an easy decision to make.
So here, then, we have the first Corsa to use a truly modern French skeleton and PSA-sourced vital organs, all developed from the ground up in less than two years. Getting it to market in such a compressed timeline has been some achievement. But Vauxhall knows the effort has been worth it, because a platform that is more rigid and lighter and can take a broad range of powertrains was absolutely needed in order for the Corsa to raise its game in the face of stiffer rivals.