Vauxhall and Opel, the Anglo-German car maker, joins a number of companies suddenly rushing to embrace electrification. As part of a wider shift away from gas-powered vehicles, it has built the GTX, an all-electric concept that serves as a mission statement for its EVs. You won't see this car popping up in showrooms, but this is the shape, broadly, of things to come.
If you're not into cars, then the names might not spring to mind, but both were GM's sub-brands in Great Britain and Europe for a better part of a century. Opel technically owns Vauxhall, but both sell the same vehicles to their respective territories under different names.
In 2017, Vauxhall was the UK's third-biggest car brand, behind Ford and VW, selling 195,137 models across the year. Two of its cars were in the top 10 for the year, with the Corsa selling 52,772 vehicles and the Astra selling 49,370. Both are affordable, sporty and cheap cars ideal for small families and novice drivers.
But popularity does not equate to a glittering reputation amongst the automotive cognoscenti, sadly. When The Grand Tour host Jeremy Clarkson was ordered to review the 2016 Vauxhall Astra, he chose to devote the column to complaining about his busted iPhone.
In early 2017, GM sold the concern to France's Groupe PSA, owner of Peugeot, Citroën and Chrysler Europe. In order to disentangle itself from GM, Vauxhall needs to redevelop all its cars from scratch, though. That's because GM holds the licenses for its existing models, but they'll expire at some point in the future. So, over the next few years, a whole new range of Vauxhalls will emerge, all of which will be available in both gasoline and electric versions.
The GTX concept is an SUV, but built on to the chassis of a compact car, so while it has a high ride profile, its footprint is tiny. Measuring in at 13.3 feet (4.06 meters) by 6 feet (1.83 meters), it's built on the same platform that will underpin the 2019 Vauxhall Corsa, coming in both ICE and EV models. Adding to the look are four custom-made 17-inch tires with hubcaps designed to make them look much bigger.
Opel's engineers went all-out with the styling, using a white wraparound for the cabin and a dark-gray hood and roof. That's complemented by a neon yellow flash that you can spot along the roofline and around the wheels. Open the coach-style doors and you'll find there's no central pillar to support the roof; all the better to show off the wrapover windshield.
Preferably without bumping your head on the sharply-angled windshield, you'll be presented with the cockpit. The design has clearly drawn subconscious cues from Knight Rider's KITT and is a swing away from, say, the single screen in Tesla's Model 3. Here, the screens stretch from behind the wheel and around the driver to form a continuous control scheme called the Pure Panel.