Vauxhall is going to ‘aggressively market’ its new Corsa to current Ford Fiesta owners as the firm looks to sweep up sales to make it the best-selling car overall in 2024.
Ford ended production of its Fiesta in July 2023, yet the most recent data from the SMMT shows that it’s still currently the UK’s 10th best-selling new car this year, with 22,446 registered up until the end of September.
Speaking at the launch of the updated Vauxhall Corsa, Phill Douglass, marketing director at Vauxhall, said: ‘The decision of some of our competitors to exit the market is particularly interesting.
The B-hatch segment [which cars such as the Corsa and Fiesta sit in] is still very important in the mainstream, accounting for around 20 per cent of sales.
‘There was the assumption that everyone wanted an SUV, and though the segment fell a few years ago, it has flatlined and is still in strong demand in the UK.
‘We have committed to hatchbacks and especially to electric. As there’s more cost in the [electric] cars and [because of] other cost-of-living pressures, having small cars is vital.
Vauxhall says that data from websites such as Auto Trader and Carwow show that Fiesta owners are ‘five times more likely’ to buy a Corsa than Ford’s Puma, which is assumed to be the natural replacement.
Douglass told Car Dealer: ‘We know from the data we’ve seen that when people start configuring a Fiesta but then end up buying something else, that something else 10 per cent of the time is a Fiesta and two per cent of the time is a Puma.
‘Ford is exiting the market and we know those customers have got to go somewhere. So we are going to be very aggressively marketing this new car.’
Douglass said he wasn’t ‘naive’ and knew that ‘Ford will chuck a lot of money at Fiesta customers to get them in a Puma’.
But he added: ‘I think what the data shows is that when we’re on a level playing field, hatch customers just want another hatch.
‘The idea that everyone is buying an SUV just isn’t true. We think with Fiesta going, it’s a massive opportunity for these people to come back to a segment they know.’
With Ford prioritising production of its vans over cars during the semiconductor shortage, the Corsa became the best-selling car in 2021.
Vauxhall said it was ‘very near’ to being top in 2022 – it was the Nissan Qashqai that reigned supreme in the end – and accepts that in 2023 it will probably be the Puma that leads.
However, Douglass said: ‘In 2024, we have a real shot at being the best-selling car. We have as good a chance as anyone and we’ve got the right car to do it with.’
Pictured at top is the new Vauxhall Corsa Electric