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GM plans to move Vauxhall upmarket

GENERAL Motors is drawing up plans to make its Vauxhall subsidiary an upmarket brand.

As part of the strategy a new premium sector car could soon be heading the revitalised Vauxhall line-up in Britain.

Repositioning Britain's second biggest volume brand also involves Opel, Vauxhall's sister-manufacturer in Germany, and forms part of a major shift towards multi-brand marketing to be rolled out across Europe in the next few years.

GM president and chief executive officer Rick Wagoner said the move had been made possible by his company's recent acquisition of Daewoo, the South Korean car manufacturer.

He said: 'Our strategy for Vauxhall and Opel is to move the brands upscale. Having control of Daewoo means we will be able to cover the entry price point and growth in the eastern segments of the market with lower priced products.

'What we have in mind is ambitious and we have to be patient. We will take a more multi-brand approach to the European industry than we have in the past and that will enable us to have a top-of-the-line Opel and Vauxhall.'

Wagoner described the Daewoo brand as fitting the value segment and added: 'The nature of the products that are engineered in Germany fit comfortably in the mid-market.

'We feel we can position them to be mid-market priced, rather than down-market – it's a question of using the company's assets to attack the market broadly and help grow the size of the business in Europe.'

He cited PSA Peugeot Citroen as an example of how manufacturers can change their image. 'PSA has moved itself to be a pretty hot brand. There's money to be made if we can do that.

'It will take a while to restore the reputation of Opel/Vauxhall, but with multiple brand strategies we can be smarter about managing the brands on a consistent basis over time because there is less pressure to chase volume in the near term.

'That's the theory, and the execution of it is not easy, but we have two choices: either execute it, or sit down and let the value brands eat us from the bottom and the luxury brands get us from the top.'

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