Big names wheel out new models in fight to stay top
NEW car sales in the UK last year were up by 10.8 per cent on the previous year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) with 2,257,387 cars being registered in the past 12 months.
As in previous years, Ford maintained its top slot with the best-selling Fiesta, closely followed by the Focus. Vauxhall took the runner-up rosettes with the Corsa and the Astra. Neither will rest on their automotive laurels in 2014. Ford has no less than 25 new vehicles lined-up for European launches during the next five years. The list includes the Edge, which will join the recently introduced EcoSport in the SUV market, as well as the Ford Mustang and new Ka.
The much anticipated Mustang is the first to be offered for sale in Europe in almost 50 years of production.
Less exciting, but no less essential to the Ford line-up, is the once quirky Ka which has been brought into the mainstream with a more corporate design and hi-tech options.
Towards the end of the year Ford fans can expect the launch of the first of the luxury Vignale range – an honour given to the Mondeo – which will feature unique design elements, high quality craftsmanship, exclusive specification and advanced technologies.
Sheffield-born Martin Smith, Executive Design Director Ford Europe, said at the car’s debut in Frankfurt a few months ago: “The Vignale name is being introduced into appropriate vehicle lines as the brand and the service infrastructure develop and as we have more capacity to provide that service. We will diversify the Vignale name through the product portfolio in accordance with customer demand.” Not to be out done, Vauxhall too has a number of launches planned for 2014. March in particular will be a busy month with no less than five vehicles in the line-up demanding attention.
The Cascada and the Astra GTC will both benefit from a new 1.6litre 200bhp engine, the Corsa VXR Club Sport will be firing its way into the showroom as will the VXR8 and the Insignia VXR SuperSport. Later in the year expect the new Corsa to be unveiled – possibly at the Paris Motor Show in the autumn.
LAUNCH: Vauxhall Insignia VXR SuperSport, top. The new Ford Mustang will be the first to be offered for sale in Europe, above.