Jointly developed cars are fine when those involved are of similar standing. A Ford/VW/SEAT MPV is just an MPV with a choice of badges. But the Vauxhall Agila, developed by GM and Suzuki, and also available as the Suzuki Wagon R, should be badged the Vauxhall Bandwagon.
The Agila's styling makes it instantly recognisable as a member of the Opel family,' counters a GM exec. In fact, a cheesy grille, inserted at the mouth of a body that is otherwise the same as the Suzuki's, is all that defines it to the onlooker. The colour schemes and comedy proportions smack of Suzuki.
But in fairness, they are not exactly the same. The Suzy comes with a 1.3-litre engine, the Vauxhall with a choice of one-litre or 1.2. The suspension and steering of the Euro variant is firmed up and aligned with western tastes for whizzing about, and the 1.2 certainly feels composed, if not terribly quick.
Everything that endeared the original Wagon R to me endures in the Agila - sensible use of space, versatility, frugality and amusing appearance. Vauxhall and Suzuki UK are now in a stand-off over who will launch it at the lower price. There will probably be only #50 in it.
Here's what decides it for me. As a Suzuki and finished inpurple, people will point at it and say: 'Oh, look, there's one of those funny little Japanese cars.' As a Vauxhall, though, it's looking a bit too serious