Managing director Stephen Norman says there's nothing wrong with the brand or its cars and that he instead needs to look at how they're sold

Vauxhall has an intrinsic value that is not currently echoed in its sales and profit, according to new UK managing director Stephen Norman.

Talking to Autocar on the day he was announced as the new boss of Vauxhall and Opel Ireland, Norman said that Vauxhall is an iconic brand with “modest positioning” that needs to be conveyed to consumers in a way that produces better results than today. 

Vauxhall cuts 250 further jobs at Ellesmere Port

Last year, Vauxhall's UK sales fell by 22% to 195,137 vehicles, taking its market share from 9.3% to 7.7%, the biggest drop suffered by any car maker.

Norman said: “There's nothing wrong with the brand or the cars; I need to look at whether they're being sold in the right channels at the right prices.”

He added that new owner PSA Group, which bought Vauxhall and Opel from General Motors last year, clearly saw the worth of the brands or would not have taken them on.

Our Verdict

Peugeot 3008 review hero front

Peugeot’s awkward high-rise hatchback turns stylish compact SUV, but faces stiff competition from Volvo's XC40, Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

Norman said the fate of Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port factory, which has announced 650 job cuts in recent months, is “inextricably linked” to improved sales and profit.  

“The motor industry produces what customers require, Supply will follow the demand. 

“If Ellesmere Port is a productive factory and demand is high enough, then clearly the plant has a role to play.”

Norman recognised that SUVs will continue to play a key role in Vauxhall’s success, describing the main focus of its product plan to be SUVs for “the foreseeable future”.

He would not be drawn on how quickly electrified models would notably contribute to Vauxhall sales except to say that they were of “increasing importance”. PSA has already confirmed that Vauxhall will launch an electric version of the Corsa in 2019 and a plug-in hybrid Grandland X.

Norman replaced Rory Harvey, who will leave the business at the end of February. Norman was previously PSA's sales and marketing boss.

Read more 

Vauxhall Corsa review 

Vauxhall Astra review 

Vauxhall Viva review

Join the debate


11 January 2018

Being on the Road a lot I look at all the new Cars when I see them I try to read as much about them too, Vauxhall see to be the only brand that core Cars haven’t moved on enough.

Peter Cavellini.

11 January 2018
Peter Cavellini wrote:

Vauxhall see to be the only brand that core Cars haven’t moved on enough.

Completely agree.  They have spent far too long peddling the same old business model when the entire market around them has shifted.  When they have reacted it's been far too late and usually with desperatley poor offerings.  Only now are we starting to see some better models.  The new Insigna is actually really good, although the two new SUV's are poorly executed, the Peugeots are far better.  The Astra needs freshening up with a more modern design, particularly the interior.  The Corsa and Viva are desperate cars and are nothing more than a waste of resources.  The other models are largely forgotten.  Let's hope they new guy can convince managment that it's no longer the 70's and 80's.  Vauxhalls have for too long been the choice of the 3rd/4th hand buyer who knows no better or doesn't care.  It really isn't that difficult to turn these brands around and drive through efficiencies, you just need the right people and investment.  But I fear it's too late.

11 January 2018

Peug Citroen will eventualy scrap Opel and vauxhall off as we know them ,the engines,body structure and replace them with new kit with a common modular system.So private punters take an even greater risk on depreciation.I think they will sell mainly on pcp etc risk covered.

11 January 2018

Vauxhalls have long been boring, dull, almost invisible cars.

Nothing much wrong with most models but oh boy are they dreary.

I had a new Cavalier SRi in the days when they were fun and racing in Touring Car. When the Astra GTE was the choice of boy racers and the 3 litre Carlton the plodmobile most likely  to be the car chasing you around the M25.

It is a long time ago since Vauxhall were interesting. Tweaking the sales process  is not going to do anything when the product is uninspiring.

Steam cars are due a revival.


11 January 2018

I covered 110k trouble-free miles in my year-2000 Opel Astra Estate, so technically that was pretty good going. However, the brand doesn't exactly scream 'buy me.' 

The Vauxhall Prince Henry was once reckoned to be the first sports car. So it's high time to bring back a taste of style and desirability - BMW did it with the Mini, so now it's Vauxhall's turn.

11 January 2018
MrJ wrote:

 So it's high time to bring back a taste of style and desirability - BMW did it with the Mini, so now it's Vauxhall's turn.

They tried it with "Adam" and it didn't really work out. The previous Corsa space has now been fractured with the Viva, Corsa and Adam all fighting for sales in the same showroom.

11 January 2018

"Vauxhall and Open Ireland"

Opel Ireland surely?

11 January 2018
WallMeerkat wrote:

"Vauxhall and Open Ireland"

Opel Ireland surely?

No, this is to signify that they'll still be OPEN for business , post-brexit...

If I want an autonomous car, I'll take a taxi.

11 January 2018

Vauxhall has become a tragic case of a brand that has simply turned stale in the eyes of the consumer. They haven't done enything to capture the attention of the public since the VX220 nearly two decades ago.

I reckon a renewal of their relationship with Lotus might bring some welcome attention to the brand.

One special collaborative project to grab headlines and rejuvenate the brand image (perhaps a sports car based on the Evora) and a tuning licence for Lotus to overhaul Vauxhall's range with some lightweight Lotus magic (think Carlton.)

Shame it won't happen!

11 January 2018

I feel sorry for him, I hope he's well paid at least. It'll show up as a massive failure on his cv  if this is not his last role before retiring.

He has to say what he's said and defend the products, but they're mediocre at best, and rubbish at worst, and I'm sure he knows this. The brand is a dead duck, as another poster wrote they've done nothing since the early 90s of any note, so they've squandered a once valuable brand with GM bean counting and imaginative cars. He has absolutely no chance of anything other than managing a decline in the best way.

Even the very late to the party SUVs are beyond dull, and the Japanese and Koreans make them look uninspired.

Ford were pretty much equivalent to Vauxhall in the 80s and early 90s. Ford kept investing, made good cars, and have coped better vs the newcomers, but are showing worrying signs of slipping too - the Focus and Ka are dull, nobody wants Mondeos, and their SUVs are a bit average. Fiesta is a cracker though. First time I'd thought this of Ford though.

The only way Vauxhall will survive the next 10 years is to make cars that look fantastic, and predict the market trends much faster. The brand will not recover any other way, and no amount of PSA cost cutting and platform sharing will do anything else but prolong the agony. PSA also have a history of not spotting trends, then enetreing with terminally dull and safe products, so doesn't bode well either.


Doom and gloom eh?


Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week