Page last updated at 09:50 GMT, Tuesday, 28 July 2009 10:50 UK

UK driving school dumps Vauxhall

A BSM-branded Fiat 500
The car preferences of young women are thought to have driven the deal

BSM, the UK's biggest driving school, is to replace its basic vehicle for learners - the Vauxhall Corsa - after signing a deal with Fiat.

The Italian firm will provide BSM with 14,000 cars over four years - mainly its Fiat 500.

The move is a blow to Vauxhall because, according to BSM, about 70% of learners buy the same car model as they pass their test in.

This marketing benefit means Fiat is providing the cars at a discount.

Learner drivers wishing to purchase a Fiat after passing their test will be offered £500 off any model - on top of any dealer offer.

Royal approval

A report said that the Corsa was no longer appealing to BSM's core customer - women in their late teens and early 20s - who wanted to drive a more fashionable car.

Fiat's cars had a "modern outlook and appeal" which would attract more learner drivers said BSM managing director Abu Shafi.

The company has about 3,000 driving instructors who are franchisees, and teaches more than 130,000 learners to drive each year.

Formerly known as British School of Motoring, it boasts the Queen among its former pupils.

Andrew Humberstone, managing director of Fiat Group Automobiles UK, said the agreement put it "right where we want to be".

We asked you for your comments. Please find a selection of your views below.

I learned to drive in Vauxhalls. The driving school had Vivas and Chevettes, I drove both and passed in a Chevette. My first car was a Triumph Dolomite. Since then I have owned over 20 cars and only one of them was a Vauxhall.
Mike Francis, Bolton, Lancs

I drive a Corsa currently as a BSM pupil, and I really like them. I disagree that they are 'unfashionable', they are great cars to learn in. I would still choose to purchase a Corsa post-test, rather than a fiat.
Sophie P, Bristol, UK

I learnt to drive in a Ford Fiesta and my first, second and third cars were both fiesta's! Just found them easy to drive, after learning in them.
Louise Taylor, Coventry, West Mids

A real shame for Vauxhall as they could do with the profile. The statistic could be misleading - I'd think it more likely that new drivers buy an older model of the car they learned in - quite easy when the Corsa and Fiesta have been with us for years. Not so easy for the 500, it will still be out of touch for many new drivers and the £500 brings it down to the price of the current Ford Ka with which it shares its underpinnings. For the record, I learned in a Metro and my first car was a Fiat Uno.
Mike Stener, Reading, UK

My wife passed her test first time with BSM in a Vauxhall Corsa four weeks ago. Her first car? a Vauxhall Corsa!!
David Leybourne, Kirkcaldy

No, I learnt to drive in a Ford Escort. I then went on to drive a VW. I have never bought a Ford in over 37 years of driving and probably never will.
Wibble, Leicester

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