GM in Europe is planning to rename its mid-range model Insignia when the current Vectra comes up for replacement in 2008. Vauxhall's UK Product Communications Manager Dennis Chick told just-auto that the new model's global debut will be at the London Motor Show in July next year.

"Corsa worked so well for us in London [global debut in  2006] that we thought we would do it again," said Chick.

"Frankly, the London event got new Corsa to a global audience and also the timing is right on Insignia," Chick added. 

GM Europe's decision to opt for a new name on its mid-range model - sold under the Vauxhall brand in UK and Opel elsewhere in Europe - will surprise few in the industry.

The upper-medium D-segment saloon market has become increasingly competitive as it has shrunk in size in recent years - squeezed from below by C-seg compact MPVs and from above by much bigger volumes on executive class models (eg Audi A4, BMW 3 Series) from the prestige brands.

Ford has recently raised the bar further with its latest and very well-received all-new Mondeo.

In Britain the Vectra - despite refinements and improvements - has long had a rather lacklustre image and been the butt of certain journalists' (step forward Jeremy Clarkson) jokes for its alleged dullness.

Vauxhall says the Insignia marks the dawn of a fresh era for the Griffin-badged marque.

With its dynamic design and class leading technology, the new Insignia will shift the perception of the Vauxhall marque to a more aspirational level, Vauxhall says.

"Dynamic performance is one of the Vauxhall brand's core values. In the new Insignia, this defining characteristic is realised by sophisticated powertrain technology, active safety and the interface between driver and car. The Insignia's level of comfort and environmental friendliness is unrivalled even among considerably more expensive competitors," says Alain Visser, Chief Marketing Officer, General Motors Europe.

With the Insignia, Vauxhall says it continues pursuing its strategy of making advanced technology affordable for more customers.

When it comes to the new car's design, Visser says, "A closer look at our groundbreaking GTC concept car gives a good idea of how exciting Vauxhall's new design language will be."

Insignia is described as 'the most innovative, ambitious model ever to come from Vauxhall, combining the best environmental technologies with those designed to deliver optimum driver pleasure and active safety. It is the latest evolution in GM's quest to lead the market, not just in volume but in quality, style and overall appeal'.

Vauxhall's mid-size heritage dates back to 1957, with the launch of the Victor. In total, over a million Victors were sold over five generations. It was succeeded by the Cavalier in 1975, which recorded over 1.8 million sales in three generations until 1995. Two generations of Vectra were then produced, and over a million models have been sold in the UK to date.

Insignia goes on sale across Europe in the third quarter of 2008.

Dave Leggett