I think this is because they are both products from where they were developed. And this geographical difference is important.
Ive spent some time with the new Vauxhall Corsa and its engineers and designers recently, and one of the factors in its composition, despite having a platform conceived in France, is how `German say their engineers that the car has to feel on the road.
The motorway network and its occasional stretches without speed limits mean that Opel engineers have performed more high-speed tests than their PSA Group counterparts in France.
But they will also come to the UK, because they realise that Vauxhalls badge is important and Britain regularly offers them something they struggle to find in Germany: broken asphalt roads with tree roots and sinkholes that mean very different chassis entries to the left and right of the car, on very crowned roads, with many curves, which are narrow and where speeds are high. “The direction is so important there,” an Opel engineer told me the other day. And that can mean two possibly contradictory desirable dynamic traits.
In the UK, it is best to have a direction that is easily guided out of the centre, that is not corrupted by potholes, that is millimetrically accurate and that has a good feel when driving between curves on a rural road, spending little time with the front wheels and the steering wheel pointing in a straight line.
In Germany there are quite a few places where this is also good, but so is the ability to drive at three-digit speeds without a hint of instability: cross winds, changes in curvature or if the driver sneezes. So in one place high agility is a good thing; in the other, lack of it is the key.
But the truth is that a car that works well on the road here will work well anywhere else. And whether its an XJ versus a Panamera or a Corsa versus, say, a Citroën C3, the same isnt necessarily true the other way around.
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