Offer one or two sporty or pseudo-sporty trim levels in car lines aimed largely at volume fleet buyers and up to a quarter of buyers will choose them, Vauxhall sales figures show.

The UK GM operation said its sporty Vectra models take the highest percentage of sport model sales, accounting for 25 percent of all Vectra registrations. The MV6 Omegas take five percent and the Astras just under 12 percent. The company couldn’t supply figures for the Corsa.

Though Vauxhall shares its sporty trim options with Europe’s Opel, it sells a higher percentage of each model range in sports trim than the continent’s GM distributors.

SXi and SRi models took an 8.8 percent share of Opel France’s Astra sales in 2000, followed by Spain (8.7 percent), Italy (3.8 percent) and just 0.7 percent in Germany.

Across Vauxhall’s three mainstream ranges there are two distinct sporty trims: ‘show’ SXi and ‘show ‘n’ go’ SRi.

For about £700 ($US1,000) over the near-base Club version, a Corsa SXi comes only with the 1.2-litre engine but adds leather-rim steering wheel, CD player, white-faced dials, alloy wheels, body coloured bumpers, front fog lamps, a rear spoiler and sill mouldings.

Getting the go with the show requires at least another £2,000 ($US2,800) for the SRi which offers the choice of 1.4 and 1.8-litre engines and adds air conditioning and lowered sports suspension.

It’s a similar story with the larger Astra where an extra £300 ($US425) over a run of the mill Club buys the SXi with 1.6 or 1.8-litre petrol engines or a two-litre turbodiesel and adds those white dials, close ratio gearbox, alloy wheels, body coloured trim and foglamps.

The £2,000 minimum extra spent on the SRi offers more powerful 1.8 or 2.2-litre engines, a/c, anti-lock brakes, rear spoiler and chromed exhaust.

Vauxhall often drops the SXi option into a range as a ‘limited edition’ after the initial interest in a new model has died down, or to boost sales when a model’s been around a while.

This is the case with the Vectra, due for replacement at the end of the year. The SXi is only £100 more than a cooking LS but has sports seats, leather-rim wheel, alloys and a spoiler as well as anti-lock brakes and a/c but comes with only a 1.8-litre engine.

Choose the SRi, starting at £1,300 ($US1,840) more, and 2.2-litre petrol or turbodiesel engines and a new 2.6-litre petrol V6 become available.

There is also a limited-edition GSi with tweaked 2.6-litre V6 and suspension and additional standard equipment including xenon headlamps and cruise control.

Even the BMW 5 series-sized Omega, an under-rated car that is the basis of the Cadillac Catera, is available in sporting MV6 trim.

Engine choices are 2.6 or 3.2-litre V6 and the mods are subtle: less chrome, sports suspension and seats and low-profile tyres on alloy rims.