Vauxhall has announced that it will be introducing three new engine families in the next year to boost both power and economy.

First to arrive will be a 1.6 turbo petrol with up to 197 bhp – that is one in the eye for Ford, whose 1.6 petrol currently goes up to 177 bhp.

Vauxhall is promising a 13% improvement in fuel economy for the new 1.6 litre engine and the highest specific torque output (pulling power) of any engine it its class. Details of the other engines are yet to be released, but at least one is likely to be a new diesel design. Vauxhalls predominantly use Fiat diesel engines, as a result of the now-dissolved joint venture between General Motors and Fiat. Some of those designs are getting quite long-in-the-tooth and Vauxhall probably now wants its own diesel engines.

The only other concrete news is that the next Astra VXR will have a 2.0 turbo with 276 bhp – again a bit more than the next Focus ST, which will have to make do with "only" 247 bhp.

Car companies do not usually make a big song and dance about engines that have not yet been released, so why is Vauxhall making a lot of noise about these? The reason is that Vauxhall wants to show that it is investing in the future at a time when all the publicity surrounding the company is about losses and likely factory closures. Telling people that advanced new Vauxhalls are just around the corner is a good way of saying that the company does have a future.