News that Vauxhall is creating 550 new jobs at Luton and Ellesmere Port – while its close relation, Opel, is shutting the Bochum plant in Germany – ought to focus our attention on the good things this century-old British brand is pulling off these days.
Though its deadly rival Ford of Britain has abandoned all car and van manufacture, Vauxhall still makes mainstream hatchback cars (Astras) and light vans (Vivaros) in this country – both clearly in strong demand.
Its quality and work practices compare with any in Europe, and the adaptability and fighting spirit of its workers is well enough regarded by the GM Europe management to win recent favourable treatment. (As GM Europe boss Karl-Thomas Neumann observed yesterday, it’s only a year since GM’s bigwigs were discussing closing Ellesmere entirely: now it’s confirmed as leading plant for the next-gen Astra).
There’s more. Vauxhall, it seems, sets the example for the rest of GM Europe – and plenty of others – at converting showroom visitors into owners. Stick your nose in a Vauxhall emporium, the statistics say, and you’re likely to drive out in a new Astra. Or Insignia or Adam, or the new Corsa when it arrives. Or likely this time next year, a new Viva-badged city car.