During a conference call last Saturday, Nick Reilly – the newly-appointed president of GM Europe – said that a new Mini car is a top priority for Opel / Vauxhall. If we understand correctly, that would mean something the size of a Ford Ka, Peugeot 107, Fiat 500, and the other dozen or so Mini cars in the European market (read: something approximately 140 inches / 3500 mm long).
While occupying a lower price point than compact or mid-size vehicles, Mini cars (aka City cars) may well make up for that in volume: the Ford Ka has solidified its position with over 500,000 units sold in the UK alone in the last 13 years, the Fiat 500 has been receiving accolades and awards all of Europe, while the forthcoming VW Up! is getting ready to take a piece of that space all to itself.
Today, Opel’s smallest car is the Corsa, which is based on the global Gamma II/SCCS platform that it shares with the upcoming Chevy Spark. Rumor has it that Opel will be getting a version of the Spark sometime after it goes on sale in the United States. Opel showed off the Trixx Concept (pictured) at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show, but GM ended up picking the Spark as its global City car.
As many GM fans may recall, Saturn briefly sold Opel’s Astra hatch in 3-door and 5-door variants in the U.S. The Saturn Astra, as it was called, is in a class above the Corsa, which itself is half of a class above the Chevy Spark and its future Opel variant. That was a mouthful, right? As such, there seems to be some confusion regarding the nomenclature of vehicle classes, since the names vary based on the country of origin. To clear things up, here’s a quick breakdown of the classes in their respective continents along with some examples of cars in those classes:
|American English||British English||Segment||EURO NCAP||Examples|
|Microcar||Microcar, Bubble car||O-segment||- Unspecified -||Smart Fortwo|
|Minicar||City car||A-Segment||Supermini||Fiat 500, Renault Twingo, Toyota iQ, Daewoo Matiz (next-gen Chevy Spark)|
|Subcompact car||Supermini||B-Segment||Supermini||Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent, Opel Corsa, Renault Clio, Toyota Yaris|
|Compact car||Small family car||C-Segment||Small family car||Ford Focus, Opel Astra, Chevy Cruze, Toyota Corolla, VW Golf|
|Mid-size car||Large family car||D-Segment||Large family car||Ford Mondeo, Honda Accord, VW Passat, Renault Laguna, Ford Fusion, Chevy Malibu, Toyota Camry|
|Entry-level luxury car||Compact executive car||D-Segment||- Unspecified -||Alfa Romeo 158, BMW 3 Series, Lexus IS, Volvo S60|
|Full-size car||Executive car||E-Segment||Executive car||Ford Crown Victoria, Toyota Crown, Ford Taurus, Chevy Impala, Holden Statesman|
|Mid-size luxury car||Executive car||E-Segment||Executive car||Lexus GS, BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XF, Mercedes E Class, Cadillac CTS|
|Full-size luxury car||Executive car||F-Segment||- Unspecified -||Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Lexus LS, Cadillac XTS (speculative)|
Besides announcing Opel’s need for a City/Mini car, Nick Reilly also said that the Ampera EV (Opel’s version of the Volt) will be – at some point – manufactured in Europe.
Reilly was tapped to lead GM Europe late last week, when chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre announced sweeping changes to GM’s executive line-up. Reilly has been leading the restructing efforts at GM Europe after heading up its International Operations (including the Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Africa, and Middle East regions).
[Source: Car Scoop]