Vauxhall has clearly looked on enviously as Fiat and Citroen have lured better-off buyers to their otherwise bargain-bin brands with the 500 and DS3 city cars. The company has been busy following the same recipe to cook up its own competitor, previously codenamed Junior but now officially announced as the Vauxhall Adam.
Much like the retro Fiat and distinctive DS3, the Adam will attempt to command a premium price despite diminutive dimensions. The new car measures just 3.7 metres in length – midway between the 500 and DS3, which oddly enough is exactly where you’ll find BMW’s Mini hatchback.
Mini of course coined the market for small cars that aren’t cheap – and importantly don’t feel like they’ve been built down to a price either. So it’s no surprise to learn that Vauxhall intends to follow Mini’s lead just as assiduously as its Italian and French predecessors, hoping to cash in with plenty of extra-cost add-ons. The company says Adam will offer “more personalisation options than any other car in its class”.
Presumably the new car’s designers will have tried to give the Adam a distinct personality, because they will need to create some breathing space between it and the humdrum Corsa – which is not the UK’s second-best selling car because of its quality or beauty.
Photos to date show the Adam in heavy camouflage, although we can see that the headlamps continue the current Vauxhall theme with chevron-shaped running lights at their upper outside edges. According to the company’s own spin, the Adam will have a muscular, modern and sporty appearance.
The images also reveal the rough proportions – suggesting that rear-seat accommodation will be as cramped a Fiat 500. To start with at least, the Adam will be a three-door hatchback only.
The Adam is due to go on sale early in 2013. Before then, the plastic cladding and disruptive-pattern wrappings will come off at the Paris Motor Show in September, when we’ll all be able to judge if Vauxhall has created a shape to give other premium small-car makers anything to worry about.