The next Vauxhall Corsa has been shifted sideways onto a totally different chassis, it has emerged, with little over a year until the car is actually launched.
Such a shockingly short development programme wouldn’t normally be possible, but PSA is adamant that its own chassis, which is used by the Peugeot 208 and Citroen C3, will be easy to implement beneath a Vauxhall body.
The all-new Corsa was set for a launch this year, but after PSA bought Vauxhall and Opel from General Motors it was decided that PSA wouldn’t take the new GM chassis in order to cut down on licensing payments. Instead, the Corsa’s next big day was put back a year while the engineers figure out how to bolt the touchy-feely bits and the bodywork to the existing supermini platform.
Overall, PSA’s teams will have had less than two years to make the project their own. It will also use PSA engines, namely the efficient turbocharged small-displacement petrols that work so well in the Peugeot and Citroen options you can buy today. Speaking to Autocar about the challenges, the man in charge of Opel and Vauxhall, Michael Lohscheller, said:
“It is a pretty fast development time, but it is not compromised in any way. We have a clear understanding of what we want from the car, what is possible from the platform and how to get there.
“It’s true that we had a version ready to go, and you can’t just stretch a design to fit a new platform. But the teams have done a fantastic job in record time to ensure that the car is on schedule. We started work on the project even as the deal to buy [Vauxhall/Opel] was being agreed and we are all very excited about the car.”
Despite the total chassis shift at late notice, the 2019 Corsa will still be built at the Zaragoza plant in Spain, where it has been since 1982.
Its popularity in the UK has slipped in recent years, falling from second in the overall sales charts to fifth.