A Vauxhall executive has made a bold statement – from now on, cars are not going to get any bigger. General vehicle dimensions across each sector of car are roughly now set to be fixed.

“You can put a pin in a chart now,” explained the firm’s marketing director Stuart Harris. “Cars are not going to grow any more.”

Chasing a world speed record: 125mph for 24 hours in a Vauxhall Astra

Vauxhall Insignia review (2013 onwards)

This is because vehicle manufacturers are coming under big pressure to reduce vehicle fleet average CO2 and improve fuel efficiency. Making cars bigger means making them heavier – something incompatible with this crucial aim.

The result could be that, contrary to trends up to now, vehicles actually start to get smaller. If interior packaging efficiencies can be found and vehicle crash safety technology can improve, said Harris, future models may be launched that offer the same interior space as the cars they replace, but with smaller overall dimensions and a lower overall kerbweight.

THE QUEST TO CUT CO2

Harris is so confident in his claim because the need for lighter cars is quickly going to become urgent. Vehicle manufacturers must cut the weight of their cars in order to reduce emissions, because otherwise, the financial penalties from legislators will be punitive.

“The secret to reducing CO2 is cutting weight,” he explained. “New engines are already coming, which are helping, but the only way to achieve a fleet average 95g/km CO2 will be to make vehicles lighter.”

But although even hitting this ambitious fleet average emissions figure will be a huge achievement, the work for car manufacturers doesn’t stop there – cutting the weight of vehicles is only the start of it.

“Making lighter cars may take you to 95g/km but then physics and aerodynamics take over.”

Vehicle engineering centres are gong to be busy places in coming decades…