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Dealers 'must accept' longer service gaps

Vauxhall is set to introduce an extended service intervals programme across much of its car range by the end of the year, despite industry-wide opposition from franchised dealers.

The current service interval is 10,000 miles, but the new Corsa, due in showrooms from October 18, is the first Vauxhall to break the mould. It will need servicing every 20,000 miles or once a year.

A Vauxhall insider said: “By the end of the year it's likely you will see extended service intervals across the range, starting with Vectra. We will more than likely have something to reveal on this issue at the Birmingham Motor Show next month.”

The announcement comes after the latest Automotive Management dealer opinion survey (August 18) of franchised dealer executives. This revealed 76% were concerned about longer service gaps, with 68% believing manufacturers did not understand their anxieties.

Richard Hughes, Corsa brand manager, said: “Our decision to extend intervals demonstrates our acceptance that this is the direction the market is going and our dealers must accept that.

“The new Corsa meets the latest EU emission standards and in order to achieve that we have made the engines more efficient and more durable.

“The effects on workshop workload won't be as great as feared. The low mileage private user will still have their car serviced once a year and we will make up for the reduced throughput of individual fleet cars by increasing our overall volume of fleet business.”

Prices for the new Corsa are expected to start from £8,000 for the 1.0 litre and £8,400 for the 1.2, which is predicted to take about 50% of all sales.

Prices are about the same as existing Corsa models but Vauxhall executives say buyers will get a lot more car for their money.

Comfort and Elegance trims have been added to the traditional Club, GLS and SXi designations, along with SRi. Engines are more powerful, economical and cleaner and the arrival of new Corsa sees the introduction of the 'Easytronic' gearbox.

Mated to the 1.2 litre engine, it is a manual 'box with an autochange and the option of changing gears manually. The 1.0 litre offers best in class economy of more than 50 mpg and the 1.2 litre has had its power boosted from 65 bhp to 75 bhp without affecting economy (44.8 mpg).

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