Available from early 2013, the new Vauxhall Adam is GM’s attempt at stylish. It certainly looks sleeker than most other Vauxhall models although the name, as noted by TopGear, is unlikely to be a selling point!. Its unique selling point is the concept of unbeatable variety and seemingly endless opportunities for individualisation which may well prove a hit on the market.
Projected to start at around £11,000 (without any personalisation), it would lie somewhere between BMW’s Mini hatchback or Audi’s A1, both at the top of the super-mini price range, and the Fiat 500, currently the stylish alternative for smaller wallets. But does the market need an in-betweener? Moreover, once those stylish extras in the form of a ‘Jam’ (fashionable & colourful), Glam (elegant & sophisticated), or Slam (racy & sporty) styled interiors have been added, the price is likely to significantly exceed £11,000. How much are LED-starlight ceilings really worth to an average buyer?
The Adam might be a more exciting prospect once it incorporates one of Vauxhall’s new engines (a 1.2 litre engine with 69bhp, or a 1.4 litre engine with either 86bhp or 99bhp are planned), but can it compare to the likes of Mini for instance in terms of value and performance for money?
At 3.7 metres long and 1.72 metres wide, the Adam will be wider than any of its competitors although it might make the inner-city parking a bit trickier. Department of Transport regulations currently prescribe a minimum width of 1.7 metres for parking bays, which is, in fact, 2 cm narrower than the Adam, excluding the side mirrors.
We are left with the question of who will buy the Vauxhall Adam? Their planned seven-inch touch-screen infotainment system, whether or not imitating that recently seen in some Renault models, is a fun idea; smartphone compatibility is a step into the future. But why pair it with an optional heated steering wheel?! And how many buyers will be willing to pay for these extras at a time when incomes are being squeezed across the board. If willing and able to invest upwards of £11,000 in a super-mini city cruiser won’t a buyer go for the more prestigious Mini or Audi A1 over an Adam? Vauxhall do not seem to have played to their strengths with the Adam and instead have tried to offer something outside the consumers perception of their market niche. In the same way the new Mercedes A-Class 2012 plays to the brands history of delivering practical high-class family cars, Vauxhall should recognise their market niche and work within it pairing affordability and value with customer service.