A few of us gathered in a central London eatery last night to bid farewell to Duncan Aldred, departing CEO of Vauxhall, generally admired among the hackery for his candour, humility and straight answers to questions.  

Though Aldred’s skill as a businessman is not our primary concern he obviously has it in spades: he took the top job at Vauxhall job in 2010 when sales were very much on the floor, and leaves it not quite four years later well on track for the promised mid-decade profitability, and with sales doing so well that Vauxhall now looks a realistic threat to Ford as UK market leader - without (as Aldred hastens to put it) buying market share by offering unprofitable incentives.

Over the past year or so Vauxhall has been identified to other GM Europe outposts as a home of best practice, notably for its terrific ability at turning a high percentage of leads into sales.