Currently reading: GM chief wants Vauxhall-Opel to lead European revival
Vauxhall is perfectly placed to lead a revival of the the company in Europe, says GM's European president; but he believes the company still needs to work on its product range

Vauxhall-Opel boss Karl-Thomas Neumann says Vauxhall is perfectly placed to help spearhead the company’s European revival, which is expected to culminate in a return to profitability by 2016.

In 2013, Vauxhall-Opel halted a 14-year slide in market share in Europe, and Neumann is confident that it can start to rise again this year, boosting his prospects of hitting profitability.

“There is much more work to do, but I can say that Vauxhall is in an incredibly strong position,” said Neumann. “It is led by an excellent team, it sits at the centre of British society as a brand and it is very close to the customer. My job there is to support the job they are doing and not interfere – they are doing a good job.”

Neumann conceded that Vauxhall was still too reliant on discounting and fleet market sales in the UK, but said the issues were being addressed. “In the UK prices are low across the board and the fleet market strong, so we are not alone,” he said. “But to change that we need to shift the image of the brand and build our product line-up; we are doing both, and the change is coming.

Last April Neumann was part of a team that successfully campaigned for a £3bn investment from parent company GM to develop 23 models and 13 new engines by 2016.

“We know we need a new generation of engines, and they will be rolled out very quickly over the next three years,” said Neumann. “We are already there with that solution. The next issue is new products; we know what we need, and we’re working on it.”

In particular, Neumann suggested Vauxhall-Opel needs to work on expanding its line-up for the booming SUV market and establishing its credentials for good design and cutting edge connectivity technology.

Join the debate

Add a comment…
concinnity 20 January 2014

A nice contrast of GM's

A nice contrast of GM's support of their marques with Chrysler/Fiat's support of the Lancia marque.
jonboy4969 20 January 2014

Where he gets that cars are

Where he gets that cars are cheap in the UK is a little interesting, the UK is still one of the dearest places to buy a car, especially when you compare like for like in other countries.

Vauxhall needs an image change, its is still seen as cheap and nasty, unreliable and not worthy of the pieces they ask, hence the huge discounts you can get, along with lifetime warranties and zero interest, this should help get bums on seats, but they still cant.

Yes there are more models available, The ADAM, Mokka and Cascada, I have as yet to see a Cascada on the roads, anywhere, especially as the rear seat space is negligible, considering is huge size, it is the core products that need to be looks at.

Corsa, OLD, needs replacing NOW, and not with a larger ADAM lookalike, the ADAM has not been successful here in the UK, the Astra, is not bad, but needs new engines, like the entire range, The Insignia is getting there, The Meriva, is woefully underpowered, and the electrics are dodgy ( I had one and had these issues - It went after four months, awful car) The Mokka and Antara are token cars in the SUV market, neither of which will WOW the public enough to get them into one.

The other models are so uninteresting that I wont even bother with, The Zafira Tourer has flopped so badly that they continue making the previous generation one to keep sales figurers up.

So what do they do, just plod along, or try something drastic, If it were me, I would realign the pricing, drop it, get rid of the zero%, and lifetime warranty, they are just fripperies, sell the brand on quality and price, start to draw out of mass company sales, and keep the advertising constant, push the new engine range, and drop the models that are doing nothing but taking up showroom space.

but then I am not in charge and I am sure that they have a plan in place, lets hope that it is a good one, because the withdrawal of Chevy from Europe will not mean those buyers will automatically flock to V/O, quite the opposite.

One last thing, sort out the dealers, they are by far some of the most rude, ignorant sales people out there, the ones I bought my Meriva from, lied, damaged the car, twice, failed to reply to other issues, and then after I had sold it, tried to get back into another one, AFTER I told them that i would only use them again if hell froze over, (and bugger me it did last week...LOL)

JIMBOB 20 January 2014

Good spot

jonboy4969 wrote:

The other models are so uninteresting that I wont even bother with, The Zafira Tourer has flopped so badly that they continue making the previous generation one to keep sales figurers up.

I thought all the 2012/13 cars were unsold stock, but the previous generation is there as a configurable car on the Vauxhall website. The Mk1 Zafira had a bit of charm, it was smart, well proportioned (if slightly plain), but the interior was tough. The Meriva was also popular, and you don't see many new Zafiras or Merivas on the roads now.

Incidently, Bristol Street has Mk2 Zafiras (brand new) available for just £10,400 so this must be wrecking sales of the Mk3 further still. Quite a few other dealerships have these rock-bottom prices on Zafira petrol models. If you can put up with the highish RFL and don't do too many miles they are bargains.

Marv 20 January 2014

Vauxhall/Opel need more than rebadged GM products

To me this article says Vauxhall needs to do more than just rebage products from their American GM stablemates.

Yes, the Buick LaCrosse and Regal are rebadged Insignia's (the Insignia has recently addopted the dials and centre console from the Regal) and the Enclave's styling would fit with Vauxhalls current design language, but the dash design and quality a couple of generations behind current Vauxhalls, so would need some work.

I think their engine range and handling characteristics along with cutting back on chasing fleet sales needs to be Vauxhalls imediate focus. They also need to de-clutter their centre consoles, removing all those buttons. A little more understated quality.