According to research commissioned by General Motors, there will be a 40 per cent increase in female new car buyers over the next 15 years in Western Europe and they will become the driving force for any expansion in the new car market.
Collette Dunkley, Vauxhall’s UK communications director, released the information this week at the European press launch of the new Vauxhall and Opel 3-Door Astra Sports Hatch. She added that Vauxhall was in the process of making significant changes to its future model strategy and selling processes to reflect the changing market conditions.
Kevin Wale, Vauxhall’s UK chairman and managing director added, "We must respond to this information and whilst we can provide the right models with the right image for male and female customers we must address the future selling process through our dealerships. We are already looking at ways to pilot in a few initial dealership new selling approaches designed to suit female buyers. Men are full of testosterone when they buy news cars and look forward in most cases to haggling with dealership sales staff. Women are different; they do not want the ‘hard sell’. They like to build relationships with the sales staff, think about all their buying options before committing to a purchase. They buy with their brain not with their heart".
Wale added, "The Sport Hatch will particularly appeal to drivers who want expressive design, innovative technology and exciting driving but they will also have a lifestyle that requires an element of practicality".
Vauxhall say the design, styling and model line-up of the new Astra Sports Hatch reflects these changing market conditions. The distinctive new ‘coupe’ styling coupled with the practicality of a three-door hatchback gives their new model range a ‘design with attitude’. Younger drivers dominate these sales attracted by the sports credentials of the product, desirability and image.
The Astra Sports Hatch is the model that Vauxhall VX Racing will use in this year’s British Touring Car Championship. Vauxhall won the championship last year for the fourth time. The 10 April on sale date of the Astra Sport Hatch has been chosen to coincide with the first race of the season.
A ‘hotter’ 240PS VXR version will be added to the Astra Sports Hatch range later this year.
Initially the Astra Sports Hatch has four petrol and three diesel engine options with pricing starting at £13,795 and all models have sports credentials. All three specification levels, the SXi, SRi and Design, are comprehensive say Vauxhall.
The segment in which the Astra Sports Hatch competes accounts for 100,000 UK sales a year. Vauxhall expect the new three-door Astra to sell upwards of 12,500 units in a full year, 3,500 more than the previous model.
Total UK sales of the new Astra models will be around 91,000 units in 2005. Diesel sales are expected to be 42 per cent with two thirds of customer being fleet and business users but in the case of the Sports Hatch 60 per cent of sales will be retail.
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