08 November 2017

Where's Vauxhall?

In 2010, the Astra was the 2nd best selling model in the UK

I remember having a Where's Wally books, but now I amuse myself with the Where's Vauxhall equivalent. The brand is only in one country although it should be in Ireland too, at least. When I was a lad, we had a couple of Vauxhall cars in New Zealand, as the brand was sold there many moons ago. When I met my beloved, she owned a Vauxhall so through marriage I became a Vauxhall owner in my own right.

In October, 2017, no Vauxhall model found its way into the top ten. As the SMMT is too stingy to do a top 20, that's all the great unwashed is allowed to know. Vauxhall will finish the year with two top 10 finishers but that is because of better sales earlier in the year, not for what is going on now.

The best the Astra will finish is fifth. The last time Vauxhall had all its models below that point was in 1981, although there were three in the top 10 that year, 6th, 7th and 9th. I went back as far as I can - to 1965 - and there has always been a Vauxhall in the top 10 for that period. Therefore, if the current trend continues, 2018 may set a record going back into antiquity of the brand not being in the best selling 10 at all!

However, as with any vacuum other things are sucked in. A German branded car has never finished higher than 4th but in 2017, the Golf will be either 2nd or 3rd. A Japanese brand car has never got higher than 5th but this year the Nissan Qashqai will finish 4th. It has to be said though that the Qashqai, was designed in Europe for European tastes and is also built in Europe. So the brand name is from the Orient, but the product is local.

Things are changing rapidly in the UK after years of 'steady as she goes'. Vauxhall's new ownership coupled with dramatically falling sales for one. Another is new models benefiting from that fall. Thirdly, total UK sales are now dropping quite steeply after years of being very high. Where's Vauxhall in all of this? I'm not sure where it will end up but for now a serious realignment is taking place.

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