At the launch of the facelifted Vauxhall Corsa, Business Car spoke to the company’s marketing director Phil Douglass about the sales opportunity offered by the model’s long-time rival, the Ford Fiesta, exiting the market.   

When asked if he thinks this is as much of a massive moment as it seems, Douglass said: “Yes, we’ve quoted 17% of the ICE B-segment was Corsa, the true fleet number was 30% – there’s not another B-segment car in double digits! So, in true fleet, Corsa is even more dominant than it is in retail!

“Which ironically, means there’s less upside in fleet from Fiesta’s exit, than there is in retail. Ford just hasn’t been supplying Fiesta for the fleet market – but they’ve still got a 5% share this year. 

“At a total level, the Fiesta’s exit is a huge opportunity, because it’s about 2% of the market and all those customers have got to go somewhere! As recently as 2019, Ford were selling 75,000 units of Fiesta per year; we’re four-years on from that and these buyers are coming back to the market, and they need a home.”

Douglass said that Vauxhall knew from aggregators such as Auto Trader and Carwow that if customers didn’t buy a Fiesta, 10% bought a Corsa, but only 2% bought Ford’s B-segment SUV, the Puma. 

He continued: “We’re not naïve – next year we believe Ford will chuck a lot behind getting Fiesta customers into the Puma. If you look at this year, when it was a level playing field. Corsa is what B-hatch customers want. 

“Corsa is a statement of the Vauxhall brand, in most research that we do, ‘Corsa’ actually has higher brand recognition than Vauxhall. Which in some ways is a strength because it always means it’s on the shopping list, but in some ways it’s also a weakness, as people never take the time to look at it through fresh eyes. 

“One of the things we need to do with this car is now that it looks so grown up, with the ‘Vizor’ grille and ‘black pack’, it looks like a premium offering – it’s not the Corsa that people have in their heads.”