Burns dismissed any further speculation that the world's leading vehicle manufacturer would drop the Vauxhall brand in the UK in favour of the Opel name used in mainland Europe. He said: 'Vauxhall has a distinctive place and I don't see that changing. Vauxhall is small in percentage terms within General Motors and the overall business but it is a vital brand because it is very recogniseable and the Vauxhall team under Nick Reilly has done a great job.'
Last year Vauxhall sold 291,598 vehicles in Britain (1998: 282,560) increasing its market share from 12.57% to 13.27%, while Ford's sales dropped from 403,717 (17.98% market share) in 1998 to 387,980 (17.85%). In fleet Vauxhall sales increased 7% from 170,413 in 1998 to 182,379 last year with market share increasing from 16.14% to 17.99%; Ford's fleet sales dropped 1.1% from 222,889 in 1998 to 220,409 last year but market share increased from 21.11% to 21.75%. Burns said Vauxhall had the ability to increase market share and suggested that the company might further boost sales by exporting vehicles outside of its UK homeland.