General Motors will launch its new small car, the Junior, at the Paris show next autumn but it will be strictly for Europe and unable to challenge the global success of the Mini or take on the Fiat 500 in America, engineering head Rita Forst admitted at the Geneva show.

The car has been engineered in double-quick time, and this has ruled out making it comply with regulations outside Europe. Unlike other recent GM small cars, it has been created in Europe and is not the outcome of a collaboration deal with Suzuki. It will be built in Germany.

"The Junior is a very specific car for the European market and is so important for Vauxhall and Opel," said Forst. "There are no carry-over parts, although some modules will be shared.

"It is a highly emotional car - well designed and executed - and we will build it in big volumes. There are a lot of markets where the Junior meets the regulations but only in Europe. We decided not to go for 'federalisation' because it would have increased the development time by one-and-half years. The next Junior will go to the USA."