Currently reading: Vauxhall's 'great surprises' ahead
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

See all the latest Vauxhall reviews, news and video

Join the debate

Add a comment…
moe360 28 June 2010

Re: Vauxhall's 'great surprises' ahead

VX220EDDIE wrote:
and by the way 4-1 woop woop can you tell i'm scottish :)

Did you guys Qualify for the world cup ?... emmmm no and if you guys played the Germans it would have been a lot worse then 4 -1 !

disco.stu 28 June 2010

Re: Vauxhall's 'great surprises' ahead

C.Schweizer wrote:
Going by these numbers, your question is moronic at worst and laughable at best.

Not really. I said "see out the decade" in their current form. So i am giving myself plenty of time...

The chances of GM Europe retaining independence from Detroit in developing new platforms is remote, as GM desperately tries to slash costs. Duplicating brands in the same markets is unnecessarily expensive if they can be consolidated under one brand. Even if it is still called Vauxhall, it will be a de facto Chevrolet brand instead of a de facto Opel brand. As is slowly happening to Holden over in Australia.

GM Europe's circle of influence is decreasing - the Volt is the Great White Hope for GM and the Ampera is no more than a re-skinning. This is the template for GM's future. With Saab gone from the family, Holden now sourcing vehicles from Korea because it is significantly cheaper than sourcing models from GM Europe and the continued likelihood of high labour costs and reliance on government support from Europe in one way or another, the edges are being chipped away. It is now the thin end of the wedge, but it will grow.

As GM restructures it will inevitably prioritise American jobs in design and engineering. GM Europe will gradually be wound back, model by model. GM will eventually bite the bullet and downgrade Vauxhall/Opel to an assembly operation or even merely a distribution centre.

C.Schweizer 28 June 2010

Re: Vauxhall's 'great surprises' ahead

disco.stu wrote:
How long until Vauxhall goes under and Chevrolet becomes the default GM brand across the UK?

May10 UK sales YTD Market Share YTD Sales

Vauxhall 17771 11.3% 103261

Chevrolet 1267 0.75% 6830

Going by these numbers, your question is moronic at worst and laughable at best. As oilburner said, vauxhall aren't going anywhere.