According to research commissioned by General Motors, there will be a 40 per cent increase in female new car buyers over the next 15 years in Western Europe and they will become the driving force for any expansion in the new car market.

Collette Dunkley, Vauxhall’s UK communications director, released the information this week at the European press launch of the new Vauxhall and Opel 3-Door Astra Sports Hatch. She added that Vauxhall was in the process of making significant changes to its future model strategy and selling processes to reflect the changing market conditions.

Kevin Wale, Vauxhall’s UK chairman and managing director added, "We must respond to this information and whilst we can provide the right models with the right image for male and female customers we must address the future selling process through our dealerships. We are already looking at ways to pilot in a few initial dealership new selling approaches designed to suit female buyers. Men are full of testosterone when they buy news cars and look forward in most cases to haggling with dealership sales staff. Women are different; they do not want the ‘hard sell’. They like to build relationships with the sales staff, think about all their buying options before committing to a purchase. They buy with their brain not with their heart".

Vauxhall say the design, styling and model line-up of the new Astra Sports Hatch reflects these changing market conditions. The distinctive new ‘coupe’ styling coupled with the practicality of a three-door hatchback gives their new model range a ‘design with attitude’. Younger drivers dominate these sales attracted by the sports credentials of the product, desirability and image.

Initially the Astra Sports Hatch has four petrol and three diesel engine options with pricing starting at £13,795 and all models have sports credentials. All three specification levels, the SXi, SRi and Design, are comprehensive say Vauxhall.

The segment in which the Astra Sports Hatch competes accounts for 100,000 UK sales a year. Vauxhall expect the new three-door Astra to sell upwards of 12,500 units in a full year, 3,500 more than the previous model.

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