Vauxhall is planning a new 'X' range of crossovers, with the first being seen at the Geneva Motor Show 2016 with the Mokka X. A flagship SUV based on the next version of the Insignia will be a key part of the plan, but there could be another crossover set to join the range.
Opel/Vauxhall boss Karl-Thomas Neumann said: "One of our major weaknesses is that we don't have a great SUV portfolio. We have one SUV, the Mokka, and it's very successful, so we want more."
Asked about a crossover version of the new Zafira Tourer, Vauxhall Product Manager Sean Freeman told us that Vauxhall is a diverse brand and that "it's important that we offer both MPVs and SUVs to our customers," hinting that we could see a larger crossover than the Mokka X in the range in the future, priced and sized to match the Zafira Tourer. "A larger SUV is something we're keen to do," he added.
It's possible that this new car could be the updated version of the Meriva, which would get an SUV-style makeover. The next Meriva and Zafira will offer SUV styling but with clear a focus on space – true to their MPV roots. However Opel boss Neumann refers to these as compact utility vehicles, rather than pure SUVs. Neumann added: "We will also do another SUV, which is our Insignia-based flagship SUV. So in a few years we will have a much better portfolio."
The three new cars will be part of a 27-strong product offensive by Opel/Vauxhall which also includes 17 new engines by 2020.
Mary Barra, Chief Executive Officer of General Motors, said: “Opel/Vauxhall is of high strategic importance for GM. The product offensive with 27 new models and 17 new engines has enjoyed a very successful start. These additional investments will help the brands shine again and further strengthen our position in Europe. They are a clear sign of GM’s commitment to Opel/Vauxhall, to Germany and to Europe.”
We expect the SUV to go on sale before the end of the decade, with Neumann hinting that it could even appear before 2018. However, Vauxhall will need to launch the new Insignia hatchback and more practical Sports Tourer estate, before any SUV plans can be realised.
The flagship SUV will be based on the same platform as the new those cars, which will bring with it a much more stylish design than models like the now defunct Antara SUV. Although Vauxhall boss Rory Harvey tells us that the brand is not interested in chasing Ford's high-spec Vignale brand, the Luton-based car maker will be hoping the updated Insignia can tempt some premium car buyers away from the wide variety of German company car choices.
The SUV will follow suit, and as a flagship car we're likely to see some dramatic styling and a suitably plush interior, which will help the car take on Ford's large Edge SUV.
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