The claim by Duncan Aldred, head of General Motors' UK and Northern Ireland brand Vauxhall, the company will overtake Ford to claim UK market leadership by 2016 seems to have surprised his colleagues as much as the rest of the industry. But the company's product specialists say the goal is achievable.

General Motors Europe, which includes Opel and Vauxhall, is in the throes of introducing 33 new models and 20 new engines - some replacements and some additions - by 2016. At the same time, Vauxhall has begun the move to more realistic pricing on its market patch.

The heavily revised Insignia [Buick Regal in North America - ed], which is just about to go on sale, is up to GBP4,825 cheaper than the previous model.

"Our pricing had opened the door for the premium brands to come in and match us. Now every model in the Insignia range is cheaper than it was and at a price where it should be," Aldred said. "There will be price reductions on other models - not overnight but as new cars come along."

The main battleground in the fight for UK market supremacy will be between the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall's Corsa, the GM unit claimed.

"The Insignia already out-sells the Mondeo by around 10,000 a year and the sales balance between the Astra and the Focus fluctuates. We think we can get it to maybe a couple of thousand in front," a brand specialist said.

"But the Fiesta out-sells the Corsa by thousands. We have a new Corsa coming along in early 2015 but there is going to be a new Fiesta as well. We have to get closer."

Vauxhall will get a redesigned Astra in 2015 and there will be an additional city car to join the Adam. There are also hints of another crossover, smaller than the Mokka [aka Chevy Trax; Buick Encore], to feed a growing sector of the market.

The bad news is that the 'old' Zafira, which is still on sale, disappears at the end of 2014 and the larger and more expensive redesigned Zafira Tourer replacement, launched in the last year and now getting a range ofnew engines, will not be able to cover the shortfall as demand for MPVs slides.

"We used to do 47,000 Zafiras a year but now it is nowhere near that," said auxhall marketing specialists.

"The Mokka is doing really well - we'll sell 27,000 this year - but it is not enough to make up for what the Zafira has lost."

Up to the end of July this year, Vauxhall was 38,000 registrations behind Ford in the UK market (150,000 against 188,000) which leaves a lot of leeway to be made up if there is to be a change of brand leadership.

But Vauxhall is confident of improving its share, and added pointedly: "Who's to say Ford won't lose ground?"

The price reductions for the Insignia merely reflect deals which were already happening (85% are diesel and most go to companies and fleets) and have been made possible by much reduced dealer margins which leaves less scope for heavy discounting.

Vauxhall said it has also massively reduced its business with 'daily rental' fleets [eg Hertz] which demand huge discounts and, in turn, undercut secondhand values.

Auto market intelligence
from just-auto

• Auto component fitment forecasts
• OEM & tier 1 profiles & factory finder
• Analysis of 30+ auto technologies & more