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Motor Show: Wale says image more important than sales

Vauxhall's focus on high-performance variants across its range will only generate around 5,000 sales a year, says the company's chairman Kevin Wale. But, speaking at the Sunday Times Motor Show Live yesterday, he said believed the brand's image would be boosted by the VXR.

Wale, who was instrumental in sustaining the sporting heritage of General Motors' Australian brand, Holden, says: “VXR penetration will vary from model to model but should work out at between one to 3% across our ranges. The package has taken a couple of years to put together and I am confident it will be a major marketing asset.”

The most expensive VXR model will be the 5.7-litre V8 Holden-derived Monaro coupe which will retail at £35,595, but Wale admitted that the VXR price range could climb as high as £40,000 for 'a limited 50-car unique production run'.

Vauxhall says the Agila and the Meriva are unlikely to get the VXR treatment, which involves cosmetic and tuning enhancements, including tuning exhausts to generate the correct engine note.

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Vauxhall's chairman was also upbeat about the prospects of a larger mid-engined sports car, the Lightning (pictured right), joining the VX220 roadster in the brand's two-seater line up. It would be sourced from the US and based on the Pontiac Solstice two-seater.

The Tigra coupe/cabriolet is expected to outstrip demand when it reaches showrooms in September.

More than 200 motorists have offered deposits for the car, priced between £13,750 and £15,750, before the official order book opened yesterday. Vauxhall is expecting to sell 5,000 French-built Tigras a year.

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