Vauxhall Astra leads December sales charts

Vauxhall’s family-size car, which is built in the UK at the Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire, is often overshadowed by its main rival, the Ford Focus.

However, in December, 5,377 Astras were sold compared to just a figure of 3,831 for the Ford Focus, according to the Society of Motoring Manufacturers and Traders.

This put the Vauxhall Astra in first place in the December sales chart, closely followed by another Vauxhall model in the shape of the Corsa.

The Astra and the Corsa are the only two cars in the UK to break Ford’s dominance of the monthly car sales, but Vauxhall models such as the new Meriva and Zafira MPVs, and the Insignia saloon, all appeared in the top ten during 2010.

In December, Vauxhall sold 16,548 cars and finished the month as the most popular manufacturer in the UK.

Duncan Aldred, Vauxhall’s Managing Director, said: ""This has been a great way to end 2010, and proves that we’re back on track with a strong sales performance in both fleet and retail sectors. I’m confident that 2011 will bring even more success for us."

Key to that success will be the new Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer, high-performance Vauxhall VXR8 and the facelifted Antara SUV, which will be released in 2011.

The Vauxhall Corsa supermini will also receive a facelift in 2011 to bring it in line with similar improvements to the Astra and Insignia in recent years.

The new 2011 Vauxhall Corsa will cost from £9995 and deliveries will begin to UK customers in February.

The new Corsa range will also include a congestion charge and VED-exempt model in the shape of the 1.3 CDTi Ecoflex model delivering emissions of just 94g/km.