It was first launched in 1982, as a three-door hatchback and two-door sedan, with four-door and five-door versions arriving two years later. It was known in the UK as the Nova, and became best known as a poplular choice of car driving schools. Although many young 'boy-racers' customised or 'souped up' their models, the Nova was seen as dull.
In 1993, a curvier, more attractive, Corsa was unveiled, and Vauxhall dropped the 'Nova' name. The next year it was launched by Holden in Australia, as the Barina replacing a version of the Suzuki Swift sold under that name. This proved a success, and was the first Spanish-built car to be sold in significant volumes, on the Australian market.
Unlike the previous model, there was no sedan version, but one was designed in Brazil for the Latin American market, as sedans were much preferred to hatchbacks. This was also introduced in South Africa and India. A station wagon and pick-up truck were also introduced. The wagon version was sold in some European markets, including Italy, badged as an Opel.
The current model Corsa was introduced in 2001, with distinctive styling for the three-door and five-door hatchbacks. A sedan version is also offered in Latin America and South Africa. The Brazilian version of the Corsa sold in those countries has a distinctive front end, more conservative than its European counterpart.