The Signum (pictured), based on the Vectra platform, outlines Vauxhall's view of what a premium car should be and aims to combine the best attributes from more conventional bodystyles in a new format.
It tries to blend the styling and design cues from hatchbacks, load carrying ability from estates, flexibility and innovation from MPVs and refinement and comfort from executive saloons.
Features include flat-fold rear seats, an innovative centre console in the rear called the Travel Assistant and a range of entertainment options for passengers.
Signum features six engine variants, three of which are new to the Vauxhall range – a 2.2-litre direct injection petrol with 155bhp, a 2.0-litre turbo offering 175bhp and a 180bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel.
The current 2.0 and 2.2-litre diesels and a 3.2-litre V6 engine will also be available. Vauxhall expects up to 80% of buyers to be fleet drivers who currently opt for models ranging from the Alfa Romeo 156 to the Audi A4, Volvo S60, Volkswagen Passat, Mazda6 and Honda Accord.
Sales this year should be about 8,000 units, but across Europe sales should reach 40,000 units, the firm said. In the UK, the Omega, which will continue to be produced, sold 8,400 units last year, of which 7,200 went to fleets. It is due for replacement in 2006.
Bob Lutz, vice-chairman of General Motors, said: 'In future, we will have an absolute focus on product. We want cars that are instantly recognisable as Vauxhalls.'
To highlight the design direction, he unveiled the GTC Geneve concept, featured on Fleet NewsNet last month, which indicated the vision Vauxhall has for the new Astra to be launched next year.
Signum on-the-road prices and CO2 emissions (g/km)
2.0T Elegance: £18,550….221
2.2 DTi Eleg: £18,900….194
2.0 DTi Elite: £21,650….159
3.2 V6 Elite: £22,850….242
3.0 CDTi Elite: £25,600….200
2.2i Design: £18,595….194
2.0T Design: £19,095….221
Sample prices only