The 1.7 litre engine – badged CDTi – will be the first of Vauxhall's new generation of Euro IV compliant diesel engines as the company steps up its development of diesel engines.
Carl-Peter Forster, chairman and managing director of Vauxhall's sister company Opel, said that across Europe, only one in four of its vehicles sold was powered by diesel.
'We have some ground to make up here,' he said. 'That's why we're in the middle of a catch-up phase which will pick up momentum in the coming months. You can expect a total of four new, state-of-the-art common rail diesel engines – with a performance spectrum ranging from 75bhp to 177bhp, reduced weight and economical fuel consumption – by the end of 2003.
'We don't just want to catch up many of our competitors, we want to overtake them.'
The 3.0-litre common rail diesel, to be used in the Vectra and new Signum next year, will not achieve Euro IV emissions levels until closer to the date the legislation comes into force at the beginning of 2006.
Vauxhall will offer the 100bhp 1.7 CDTi in the Astra just before the engine goes into the Meriva at the end of next year. The UK will not use a 75bhp 1.7DTi, which does not use common rail, in the Meriva, although it will be available elsewhere in Europe. Meanwhile, Vauxhall will also introduce fuel-saving 'Twinport' technology into its petrol engine range for the Astra and Corsa next year.