Vauxhall plans new Fiat 500 rival

Highly equipped, stylish, customisable small cars are proving to be increasingly popular with UK buyers and Vauxhall has confirmed it will enter the segment within two years.

“We’re already planning a new, sub-Corsa city car and we will launch the Junior, a premium supermini to rival Fiat 500 and BMW Mini in 2013," said Bill Parfitt, chairman and CEO of Vauxhall and Chevrolet in the UK in an interview with headlineauto.

The runaway success of the retro-styled Fiat 500, a car voted European Car of the Year in 2008, and the premium DS3, based on the Citroen C3, has convinced Vauxhall to build its own premium small car.

The model will be smaller than the Vauxhall Corsa, but is expected to be a step up in luxury and equipment over the current best-selling model in the Vauxhall range.

The move could see Vauxhall joining the likes of Peugeot and Citroen in moving the brand more upmarket.

Already the likes of the Corsa and Astra have received makeovers with new interior materials and a higher build quality in an attempt to usurp Ford at the top of the UK sales charts.

Peugeot recently released the stylish Peugeot RCZ coupe – the first model to do away with the numbering system traditionally associated with the French manufacturer and featuring an eye-catching ‘double bubble’ roof.

Citroen was also quick to take advantage of the high-quality trend, revising the DS line with the DS3, a car with upgraded interior, a high level of standard equipment and a huge range of exterior customisation including separate roof colours and graphics.

A premium city car from Vauxhall would leave Chevrolet as the value arm of GM in the UK, with the likes of the Spark city car, Aveo supermini and Cruze saloon as low budget alternatives to the volume manufacturers.