Fleet News

British International Motor Show 2006: Vauxhall’s premium plan

A new range of crossover vehicles is being planned as part of a fresh bid to drive Vauxhall into premium price territory.

The move follows an acceptance that the company will never regain the substantial amount of traditional corporate car sector business it has lost in recent years to BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, according to General Motors executive Bob Lutz.

‘When the German premium brands move down into the territory that used to be occupied by Ford and Vauxhall, you’ve had it.

‘Even if you do a better car, you just can’t win against that kind of brand value.

‘I know because we’ve tried it four times and failed. We just can’t compete at the upper end of the market with Opel and Vauxhall,’ said Lutz, vice-chairman of product planning at the US firm.

Lutz said the Vectra represented the upper end of Vauxhall’s traditional European model line-up. ‘This is a real issue and we can’t make it go away, so our upmarket aspirations in Europe have to be focused on brands like Saab and Cadillac.

‘But it seems these limitations only apply in the passenger car sector.

‘The minute you do a sport utility vehicle, it’s a different ball game – so as we develop a line of sport utility or crossover type vehicles for Vauxhall, we can break out of the price restrictions we have at the moment and tackle the premium sector from another direction.’

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