GM's decision to go it alone will lead to many new Vauxhall models, according to its new MD

General Motors Europe’s decision to withdraw requests for loan guarantees from European governments will allow its British arm to “change up a couple of gears”, according to Vauxhall’s new managing director, Duncan Aldred. It will also improve the chances of the Ampera being built in the UK.

Until last week, GM chief Nick Reilly had been seeking guarantees worth £1.5bn from the UK, German, Austrian, Belgian, Spanish and Polish governments to help weather the recession.

But he unexpectedly dumped the entire plan after the German government signified its unwillingness to help. The process was taking too long, he said, and business conditions were improving.

Aldred, speaking exclusively to Autocar, said: “This decision means we can change up a couple of gears and forge ahead with exciting plans for new product.”

He listed the new Smart-sized “Junior” as one of the forthcoming projects, and cited “more electric options” within the Vauxhall line-up. “Our plan has some great surprises,” he said.

The Ellesmere plant, currently GM’s top European plant for quality and productivity, is about to begin making the Astra Sports Tourer on three shifts a day for Europe-wide sales. Vauxhall bosses believe the plant is the logical home for production of the Ampera plug-in hybrid saloon. Aldred said the facility “stands a very good chance” of landing the manufacturing deal.

Vauxhall is this week using an Ampera prototype for a highly publicised drive from Luton to Ellesmere Port, where it will be symbolically driven on to the production line.

“If government support for electric car sales, taxation and charging infrastructure continues at the current pace, the UK will be the lead market for electric vehicles in Europe,” said Aldred.

Steve Cropley

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Our Verdict

Vauxhall Ampera
The handsome Ampera is primarily propelled by electric motors; a 1.4-litre petrol engine is used to charge the car's batteries

The Vauxhall Ampera promises the ability to cover 175 miles on a gallon of petrol. Does it deliver?

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Comments
13

28 June 2010

The only great surprise will be if Vauxhall sees out the decade in its current form. I cannot think of one car in the range i would buy over its rivals. Apart from the VXR8, and that's a re-badged HSV Club Sport.

How long until Vauxhall goes under and Chevrolet becomes the default GM brand across the UK?

28 June 2010

Took a look at the sales charts, Vauxhall are right up there, neck and neck with Ford.

They're not going any where soon..

You may not like them, but there seems to be plenty who do.. :)

28 June 2010

Chevrolet to become the GM badge for Europe. I really can't see that happening any time soon, either for us in the UK with Vauxhall or in the rest of Europe with Opel. Both well established brands with a history of making publically well received cars if not always by the motoring press. I don't believe our love of things American stretches as far as their cars and especially Chevrolet.

28 June 2010

The other alternative is that they will simply become an assembly operation for re-badged Chevrolets. Either way, i think there will be a major shake-up at GM Europe in coming years as GM realises it is too expensive to have Opel, Daewoo and Chevrolet all designing similar cars.

In Australia, GM withdrew Daewoo from the market and re-badged the cars as Holdens, replacing the Corsa, Vectra, Zafira etc. which had been imported from Opel/Vauxhall. Much cheaper and as long as they carried the Holden badge, people kept buying them without ever questioning it. How long until GM Europe rationalise Chevrolet and Opel/Vauxhall in a similar way to save costs?

28 June 2010

It's called ELLESMERE PORT, Autocar!!! Not Ellesmere. Sort these mistakes out. Otherwise, good stuff from Vauxhall. Good to see more shifts are being put on at the plant.

"The creative adult is the child who survived."

28 June 2010

[quote Oilburner]

Took a look at the sales charts, Vauxhall are right up there, neck and neck with Ford.

They're not going any where soon..

You may not like them, but there seems to be plenty who do.. :)

[/quote]

thank you very much at last someone else that is not ready to slate Vauxhall at every chance! Corsa is best selling car in Scotland and has been for the last few years 1-0 oh and by the way 4-1 woop woop can you tell i'm scottish :)

28 June 2010

I was looking into buying a new Astra last year but opted for a Mini Cooper instead.

I liked the look of the Astra, the price, the drive and was pretty much sold on it, but the depreciation on them just seems insane. Can anyone shed some light on that?

28 June 2010

[quote VX220EDDIE]at last someone else that is not ready to slate Vauxhall at every chance![/quote]

I wasn't slating them, i just can't see the current business model holding up much longer.

The cars are fine, but nothing exciting and not as good as others in the same markets. If the government and fleets stopped buying them their sales would collapse overnight. However, the government and fleets will still buy Vauxhall-badged Chevrolets so why bother going to the expense of designing their own cars?

28 June 2010

Good service from one of their dealers would be a great surprise.

28 June 2010

[quote Jon Hardcastle]Chevrolet to become the GM badge for Europe[/quote]

disco.stu clearly said "in the UK", not "in Europe".

The latter would have made sense if GM had gone ahead with the sale of Opel/Vauxhall, which it has decided not to do.

You could argue against the UK's Opels having a different badge than everybody else's, but then again the Brits are used to it and they are also the ones with the steering wheel on the other side, so I personally don't think an Opel-isation of Britain would make sense. Vauxhalls are RHD Opels (except the odd Aussie import) and everyone seems comfy with that.

As for the brand positioning, it is pretty clear that Opel/Vauxhall is creeping upmarket (especially now that Saab is gone) so that leaves space for Chevy at the bottom of the range (Cadillac won't ever cut it in Europe). I can't see why GM should not be able to to sustain two brands with separate targets (The VW and Fiat of the world do that, and in the case of PSA, Hyundai Kia and Renault Nissan it's even more difficult to see which brand is more "premium" than the other).

I also disagree with the many who slam Opel/Vauxhall's design and quality. I've had a few rented Astra's and a Zafira and no problem there, loved the way the Astra drove (even though my rented Meriva was a bit nasty).

What I do expect to see is more and more components coming from emerging markets for cost reasons. With the current restrictions on Korean imports, I would not be surprised to see more cars being made like the Opel/Vauxhall Antara, basically a Chevy CKD assembled in the EU. But I don't think they will lose the Opel/Vauxhall badges.

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