Vauxhall’s focus on high-performance variants across its range will only generate around 5,000 sales a year, but Kevin Wale, the company’s chairman believes the VXR branding will move the brand’s image up several notches.
Wale, who was instrumental in sustaining the sporting heritage of General Motors’ Australian brand, Holden said: ‘The VXR penetration will vary from model to model but should work out at between one to three per cent across our ranges. The package has taken a couple of years to put together and I am confident it will be a major marketing asset.’
The most expensive VXR model will be the 5.7-litre V8 Holden-derived Monaro coupe which will retail at £35,595, but Wale admitted that the VXR price range could climb as high as £40,000 for ‘say a limited 50-car unique production run.’
Agilas and Merivas are unlikely to get the VXR treatment, which involves cosmetic and tuning enhancements, including tuning exhausts to generate the correct engine note.
Vauxhall’s chairman was also upbeat about the prospects of a larger mid-engined sports car, the Lightning, joining the VX220 roadster in the brand’s two-seater line up. It would be sourced from the US and based on the Pontiac Solstice two-seater.
Wale said: ‘There is a great deal of energy within GM being spent on making it happen. The platform is available, there are great designs so we want to bring it all together.’
Meanwhile the less overt but style conscious Tigra coupe/cabriolet is expected to outstrip demand when it reaches showrooms in September.
More than 200 motorists have offered deposits for the car, priced between £13,750 and £15,750, before the official order book opened yesterday. Vauxhall is expecting to sell 5,000 French-built Tigras a year.
Wale admitted: ‘I think Tigra volumes will exceed expectations. People should come to the show to see it live because it hits the spot. Dealers are a pretty blasé bunch but when we showed it to them recently we virtually had to drag them away.’
The Tigra is being built by specialist French coachbuilder Heuliez in Cerizay and will use a variety of engines from 1.4 to 1.8-litres.
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