Premium hatchbacks have been taking the European market by storm, with models like the Mini Cooper, Fiat 500 and Audi A1 continuing to dominate. It's a trend that General Motors can't well afford to ignore, and now sources indicate that plans are moving forward to field a challenger of its own.

Tentatively called the Junior, the Opel/Vauxhall model would slot in below the existing Corsa and Agila (pictured above) but pack only three doors. It's expected to come in around the size of the Mini Cooper but, with an arched roofline and wide track, offer more interior space than the Fiat 500.

The model was reportedly part of GM's plans until the economy collapsed, forcing the company to trim its localized development programs in favor of global products. The General's chief of European operations Nick Reilly, however, appears to have convinced the bean-counters in Detroit of the necessity of the Junior project.

The name is still being finalized and could be announced in Frankfurt alongside the debuts of the Astra GTC and Zafira Tourer and that mystery concept, with sales slated to start in early 2013. When it does hit the market, we'd likely be looking at a range of three-cylinder engines shoehorned into an adaptable engine bay with the potential for an all-electric version by 2015.


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  • 39 Comments
      lne937s
      • 3 Years Ago
      If you are going to sell a premium subcompact, there needs to be something premium about it. Opel will not be able to rely on brand reputation to demand premium prices. I don't know of any legendary historical vehicle they would rely on for inspiration. They could go for more performance like a RenaultSport Twingo, but that needs a mass-market version to spread out development costs. If they just try to sell 3-cylinder subcompact at a higher price, it will be a tough sell.
        Carlos
        • 3 Years Ago
        @lne937s
        That's exactly what they're attempting to do: Build up a new reputation as a pseudo-premium brand in Europe, leaving Chevrolet immediately below in the European line-up.
      Zortella
      • 3 Years Ago
      Is this a rebadged Suzuki Splash?!?! http://www.globalsuzuki.com/automobile/lineup/splash/exterior/index.html They don't sell the Spalsh here in the States, but this looks like the same car with a different grill & headlights.
      pr4n4y
      • 3 Years Ago
      Its the same car as the Suzuki Splash/ Maruti Ritz that has been out since 2008. We own one for city use. Interior is comfortable for 4 adults and the seating position is upright (like most kei cars). Our car has an 85bhp gas engine. The engine feels a bit sluggish at times, and I hate the fact that the hood is not visible (like a van). Rear visibility is hindered by C pillars and headrests. But the car sure looks chunky and turns heads. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzuki_Splash
        Carlos
        • 3 Years Ago
        @pr4n4y
        It's official: Nobody reads the article before posting comments *sigh* The car pictured is not the new Opel Junior GM is planning to launch. It's -like you said- an Opel Agila/Suzuki Splash. Not sure why AB used that photo, considering that readers don't read articles and will be misled by the headline and image.
      ukdave
      • 3 Years Ago
      i can't help but feel gm's and ford globalization plans are going to come back and bite them in the ass. Us Europeans look for different things in our cars to you yanks. the new ford focus iis a prime example. you guys love it, but its worse than the mk2 its replacing over here. their going to end up making models neither party like
        David
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ukdave
        Do you like being called a "Limey", Dave?
        David
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ukdave
        Did you see our Focus that it replaced? It's 1000X better. How could we NOT like it?
          ukdave
          • 3 Years Ago
          @David
          better than yours but worse than ours getting more sales on your side of the pond won't help if they loose them this side. the focus has been in the top 4 over here for years. partly because of its handling that's been numbed down. its not critical yet. its still good, but if they continue to decline, some of the european brands that are having a resurgence might start to eat into a previously vauxhall(gm)/ford dominated top 10 and limey works for me
      Robert Wantin
      • 3 Years Ago
      The 500 and Mini are interesting heritage-based designs. This is...um...
        Swede
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Robert Wantin
        This is an Agila, or a Suzuki if you will.
        Carlos
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Robert Wantin
        Does anybody here read the actual article before posting?
      Mike Pulsifer
      • 3 Years Ago
      Isn't that just the European version of that Chevy they're going to try to sell here?
      Fonin
      • 3 Years Ago
      this looks more like a fit/fiesta competitor than mini. do they not get the new aveo?
        aatbloke1967
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Fonin
        "this looks more like a fit/fiesta competitor than mini. do they not get the new aveo?" The Jazz/Fit, Fiesta, VW Polo and Opel's own Corsa are all B-segment hatches which compete with the Mini. The Agila in the picture is also badged as the Suzuki Splash, and is A-segment competing with the Ford Ka, Fiat 500/Panda, VW Fox, etc.
        slip_angle
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Fonin
        RTFA
        Carlos
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Fonin
        The car pictured is an Opel Agila/Suzuki Splash. AB should have chosen a different picture to illustrate this article given that people tend to post comments without reading the article first. Europeans do get the new Aveo/Sonic, but GM is attempting to position Opel a pseudo-premium brand, leaving Chevrolet to compete with Ford, Fiat, the French makers, etc. Citroen is doing the same with their DS brand.
      aatbloke1967
      • 3 Years Ago
      The picture is NOT the forthcoming Junior - it's an Agila. If you can be bothered to actually read the article before posting, you'll find that it actually states as such. There's a rendering of the Junior in Auto Express, which will be in three-door form only.
        Carlos
        • 3 Years Ago
        @aatbloke1967
        I've seen the renderings and they look promising.
      David
      • 3 Years Ago
      LOL!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, GM. Don't even go there. You've already failed just for having the idea and putting it out there. Don't embarrass yourselves further by actually trying. Too funny!!
      Shiftright
      • 3 Years Ago
      GM is completely clueless if they think that this can compete with a 500 or Mini. Those cars ooze style, flair and fun. This leaks bargain bin practicality. Fail GM
      nd4spdsrt
      • 3 Years Ago
      compete with mini & 500?? *pukes in mouth*
      Carlos Cruz
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wonder when this is going to be sold in the USA as the Chevy __________ . Since we cant really design a nice small car in Detroit.
        Carlos
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Carlos Cruz
        If it ever makes it to American shores, I'd bet it would with a Buick badge.
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