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Vauxhall Motors

Vauxhall Motors (/ˈvɒksɔːl/; registered name General Motors UK Limited) is a British automotive manufacturing company headquartered inLutonUnited Kingdom and a subsidiary of German Adam Opel AG, itself a wholly owned subsidiary of the American General Motors (GM). It was founded in 1857 as a pump and marine engine manufacturer, began manufacturing cars in 1903 and was acquired by GM in 1925. It has been the second-largest selling car brand in the UK for over two decades.
Vauxhall has major manufacturing facilities in Luton (commercial vehicles, owned by sister company IBC Vehicles) and Ellesmere Port, UK (passenger cars). The Luton plant currently employs around 1,085 staff and has a capacity of approximately 100,000 units. The Ellesmere Port plant currently employs around 2,100 staff and has a capacity of approximately 187,000 units. The current Vauxhall car range includes the Adam(City car), Agila (Microvan), Ampera (Extended Range Electric Vehicle), Astra (small family car), Corsa (supermini), Insignia (large family car), Meriva(mini MPV), Mokka (subcompact crossover) and Zafira Tourer (compact MPV).
Since 1980, Vauxhall products have been largely identical to those of Opel, GM's German subsidiary, and most models are principally engineered in Rüsselsheim, Germany. A high proportion of Vauxhall-branded vehicles sold in the UK, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are produced at Opel factories in Germany, Spain and Poland, and roughly 80% of Vauxhall production is exported, most of which is sold under the Opel brand.
Founded
London, United Kingdom (1857)
Founder(s)
Alexander Wilson
Predecessor(s)
Alex Wilson and Company (1857)
Vauxhall Iron Works (1897)
Headquarters
Luton, United Kingdom
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
Duncan Aldred
(Chairman & Managing Director)
Owner(s)
General Motors Company(Exhibit 21)
Parent
Adam Opel AG
Divisions
VXRacing
Website

History

Foundation for 1925

A 1924 Vauxhall 30/98 Wensum Tourer
Scottish engineer Alexander Wilson founded the company at 90-92 Wandsworth Road, Vauxhall, London in 1857. Originally named Alex Wilson and Company, then Vauxhall Iron Works from 1897, the company built pumps and marine engines. In 1903 the company built its first car, a five-horsepower single cylinder model steered using a tiller, with two forward gears and no reverse gear. Around 70 cars were made in the first year before in 1904 the car was improved with wheel steering and a reverse gear.
To expand, the company moved the majority of its production to Luton in 1905. The company continued to trade under the name Vauxhall Iron Works until 1907, when the modern name of Vauxhall Motors was adopted. The company was characterised by its sporting models, but after World War I the company's designs were more austere.
Much of Vauxhall's success during the early years of Vauxhall Motors was due to a man called Laurence Pomeroy. Pomeroy joined Vauxhall in 1906 as an assistant draughtsman, at the age of twenty-two. In the winter of 1907/8, the chief designer F.W. Hodges took a long holiday, and in his absence the managing director Percy Kidner asked Pomeroy to design an engine for cars to be entered in the 1908 RAC and Scottish Reliability Trial, held in June of that year. The cars were so successful that Pomeroy took over from Hodges.
His first design, the Y-Type Y1, had outstanding success at the 1908 RAC and Scottish 2000 Mile Reliability Trials – showing excellent hill climbing ability with an aggregate of 37 seconds less time in the hill climbs than any other car in its class. With unparalleled speeds around the Brooklands circuit, the Vauxhall was so far ahead of all other cars of any class that the driver could relax, accomplishing the 320 km (200 miles) at an average speed of 46 mph (74 km/h), when the car was capable of 55 mph (89 km/h). The Y-Type went on to win class E of the Trial.
The Y-Type was so successful that it was decided to put the car into production as the A09 car. This spawned the legendary Vauxhall A-Type. Four distinct types of this were produced between 27 October 1908 – up to when mass production halted in 1914. One last A-Type was put together in 1920. Capable of up to 100 mph (160 km/h), the A-Type Vauxhall was one of the most acclaimed 3-litre cars of its day.
Two cars were entered in the 1910 Prince Henry Trials, and although not outright winners, performed well, and replicas were made for sale officially as the C-type – but now known as the Prince Henry. During the First World War, Vauxhall made large numbers of the D-type, a Prince Henry chassis with de-rated engine, for use as staff cars for the British forces.
After the 1918 armistice, the D-type remained in production, along with the sporting E-type. Pomeroy left in 1919, moving to the United States, and was replaced by C.E. King. In spite of making good cars, expensive pedigree cars of the kind that had served the company well in the prosperous pre-war years were no longer in demand: the company struggled to make a consistent profit and Vauxhall looked for a major strategic partner.

1925 to 1939

In 1925, Vauxhall was acquired by General Motors Corporation for US$2.5 million. 16 November 1925. The company's image and target market were gently but firmly changed over the next five and more years, marked particularly by the introduction in late 1930 of the low-cost two-litre Vauxhall Cadet and the next year the first Bedford truck, which was Chevrolet based. Vauxhall's chief engineer since 1920, Charles Evelyn King, would retire as engineering director in 1950. The company's future chief engineer, Harold Drew, left Luton for a spell working as a draughtsman with GM's Lansing-based Oldsmobile division. As the first significant post-acquisition passenger car, the Cadet, initially retailing at £280, is generally regarded as demonstrating Vauxhall's newly acquired interest and expertise in controlling production costs, but it was also noteworthy as the first British car to feature a synchromesh gearbox.
The influence of the American parent was pervasive, and together with the Ford Motor Company, Vauxhall's main competitor, led to a wave of American influenced styling in Europe that persisted through to the 1980s. Bedford Vehicles, a subsidiary constructing commercial vehicles, was established in 1930 as the Stock Market Crash of 1929 had made importing American trucks uneconomical.

1939 to 1945

A Mk IV Churchill tank (75mm)
During World War II, car production at Luton was suspended to allow Vauxhall to work on the new Churchill tank. Despite a bombing raid in August 1940, in which 39 employees were killed, it was taken from specification to production in less than a year, and assembled there (as well as at other sites). Over 5,600 Churchill tanks were built. Luton also produced around 250,000 lorries for the war effort, alongside the new Bedford Dunstable plant, with Bedford designs being common in British use.

1945-1970

Buyer and seller looking under the bonnet
of Vauxhall in Denmark in the 1950's
Passenger car production resumed after the end of the Second World War. Models were more mass-market than pre-war products, helping to drive an expansion of the company. A manufacturing plant at Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, was opened in 1962, initially making components to supply to the production lines in Luton, before passenger car production began there in 1964.
During the 1960s, Vauxhall acquired a reputation for making rust-prone models, though in this respect, most manufacturers were equally bad. The corrosion protection built into models was tightened up significantly, but the reputation dogged the company until the early 1980s.
By the late 1960s, the company was achieving five-figure sales on its most popular models, including the entry-level Viva and larger Victor.

1970-1990

Vauxhall's fortunes improved during the 1970s, with an updated version of the Viva continuing to sell in huge volumes.
By 1973, however, the Victor was losing sales in a market that was becoming increasingly dominated by the Ford Cortina. The Viva was still among the most popular cars in Britain, as a facelift in 1970 stopped the design from becoming too outdated. But this wasn't enough to keep Vauxhall from being well behind market leaders Ford and British Leyland in the sales charts, and most of its range was struggling even to keep pace with Chrysler UK (formerly the Rootes Group). Vauxhall's sales began to increase in 1975, with the launch of two important new models – the Chevette, a small three-door hatchback that was the first car of its kind to be built in Britain, the Chevette carrying the name Opel Kadett in Europe, and Chevrolet Chevette and in the US and Canadian markets; and the Cavalier (Opel Ascona and Opel Manta elsewhere), a stylish four-door saloon designed to compete head-to-head with the all-conquering Ford Cortina. By the end of the 1970s, Vauxhall had boosted its market share substantially, and was fast closing in on Ford and British Leyland.
The Cavalier Mark I, in production from 1975 to 1981
By 1979, Vauxhall had increased its market share substantially; it was still some way behind Ford and British Leyland, but had overtaken Talbot (the successor organisation to Rootes and Chrysler UK). At the end of 1979, Vauxhall moved into the modern family hatchback market with its Astra, (Opel Kadett elsewhere) range that replaced the ageing Viva and Chevette models. The Astra quickly became popular with buyers, but the 1981 Mk2 Cavalier– the first Vauxhall of this size to offer front-wheel drive and a hatchback bodystyle – was the car that really boosted Vauxhall's fortunes. The 1983 Nova(Opel Corsa elsewhere) supermini, an addition to the Vauxhall line up, completed Vauxhall's regeneration, and it soon overtook Austin Rover (formerly British Leyland) as Britain's second most popular carmaker. The Astra further strengthened its position in the market with an all-new 1984 model that featured an aerodynamic design reminiscent of Ford's larger Sierra.
Vauxhall's most important model of the 1980s was the 1981 Mk2 Cavalier, which made the transition from rear-wheel drive saloon to front-wheel drive hatchback (though there was still a saloon version available, complemented in 1983 with an estate). For much of its life, it was Britain's most popular large family car, vying with the Ford Sierra for top place. The Cavalier was relaunched in 1988, an all-new format which won praise for its sleek looks and much-improved resistance to rust.
The range then was extended by the Senator (Opel Senator elsewhere). The Cavalier (Mk3) entered its third generation in 1988 – with an all-new sleek design that further enhanced its popularity. The Calibra coupé followed in 1989, which was officially the most aerodynamic production car in the world on its launch. Falling between the Cavalier and Senator was the Carlton (Opel Rekordand later Opel Omega elsewhere) – relaunched in 1986, and was voted European Car of the Year, a large four-door family saloon. There were two sports versions of the Carlton: the 3000 GSi and the Lotus Carlton, the latter being aimed at family-minded executives and considered the fastest four-door production car at the time. Most importantly, the latest generation of Vauxhall models had eradicated the image of rusting cars that had for so long put potential buyers off the Vauxhall brand.
By 1989 Vauxhall was on roughly equal terms with the Rover Group as Britain's second most popular car brand (after Ford).

1990-2000

Griffin House, the headquarters of Vauxhall, which was completed in 1991
In 1991 a new corporate headquarters building for Vauxhall in Luton, Griffin House, was completed. In the same year, Vauxhall joined forces withIsuzu to produce the Frontera, a four-wheel drive off roader available in short- and long-wheelbase versions. In 1993, the Cavalier was firmly re-established as Britain's most popular large family car, with more than 130,000 sales, while the third generation Astra (relaunched in 1991) with 100,000 sales was continuing to narrow the gap between itself and the best-selling Ford Escort. The Astra was now joined by the Belmont – a four-door booted version of the Astra. This continued for some time until being renamed Astra, presumably to provide combined sales/registration figures. The decade-old Nova was axed in 1993, in favour of the all-new Corsa, adopting the European naming of the model; its distinctive styling and practical interior began attracting more sales than its predecessor had done.
In 1994, GM ceased production of Bedford Vehicles because of the fact that their profits were decreasing over time, which had been Vauxhall's commercial vehicle arm, making successful vans, trucks and lorries since the 1930s. Van production continued at Luton, now under the Vauxhall name. The Omega and facelifted Astra was launched that year and were the first models to feature the corporate "v" grille.
The Cavalier nameplate was axed in 1995 after 20 years, a full model after Opel had dropped its Ascona nameplate, Vauxhall adopting the common Vectra nameplate for its successor, completing a policy by General Motors that aligned and identically badged all Vauxhall and Opel models. Vectra received disappointing feedback from the motoring public, and several well-known journalists, most notably Jeremy Clarkson. Yet it was still hugely popular, and for a while after the 1999 facelift, it was actually more popular than Ford's highly acclaimed Mondeo. The Astra entered its fourth generation in 1998, and offered levels of build quality and handling that bettered all of its predecessors.
In the late-1990s, Vauxhall received criticism in several high profile car surveys. In 1998, a Top Gear customer satisfaction survey condemned the Vauxhall Vectra as the least satisfying car to own in Britain. A year later, the Vauxhall marque was ranked last by the same magazine's customer satisfaction survey.
The Vauxhall range received particular criticism for breakdowns, build quality problems, and many other maladies – which meant that quality did not reflect sales success. Despite this, Vauxhall was competing strongly in the sales charts, and by 1999, was closer to Ford in terms of sales figures than it had been in years.

2000-2010

The first years of the 21st century saw Vauxhall continue to narrow the gap with Ford. A new model of Corsa was launched in 2000, offering a better-handling, better-built and better-equipped package. 2002 was one of the best years ever for Vauxhall sales in the UK. The Corsa was Britain's second most popular new car, and gave the marque top spot in the British supermini car sales charts for the first time. The Astra was Britain's third best-selling car that year, while the Vectra and the Zafira (a compact MPV launched in 1999) were just outside the top ten. The second generation Vectra was launched in 2002 and was further improved over earlier Vectras, but was still hardly a class-leader, and now had to be content with lower sales due to a fall in popularity of D-sector cars; although a facelift in 2005 sparked a rise in sales.
The Frontera was facelifted in 1999 and was relaunched as the B series - featuring Vauxhalls 2.2 DTi diesel engine, their 2.2 EcoTec petrol engine and a V6 version with the Isuzu 6VD1 engine it was a huge success, again they were copies of Isuzu models namely the Rodeo. However, the Frontera was discontinued in 2004. Recently the replacement for and frontera, the antara (developed with the Chevrolet captiva) has been added to the line up.
The Astra Mark V, in production from 2004 to 2009
Perhaps the most important Vauxhall product of the 2000s so far is the fifth generation Astra, launched in early 2004 – and praised by the motoring press for its dramatic styling, which was a world of difference from the relatively bland previous Astra. It was an instant hit with British buyers, and was the nation's second best-selling car in 2005 and 2006, giving the all-conquering Ford Focus its strongest competitor yet. Many UK Police forces have also adopted the Astra as the standard patrol vehicle. The second generation Vectra went on sale during 2002, but has not sold as strongly as its predecessor. Its successor, called the Insignia premiered at the 2008 British International Motor Show at ExCeL London. It is hoped that it will give Vauxhall a fresh new competitor in a sector which has shrunk considerably in Britain over the last few years.
The second generation Corsa had been Britain's most popular supermini for most of its production life, but by 2006 it had started to fall behind the best of its competitors, so an all-new model was launched. This Corsa sold far better than either of the previous Corsas, and it was an instant hit with buyers.
The frontage of a Vauxhall dealership, showing
the current and late-1960s era branding
In 2006, the second generation Zafira was the tenth-biggest selling car in the UK, the first time that an MPV had featured in the top 10 best-selling cars in Britain.
For GM's former management, the Prius came as a wake-up call, though by the time they unveiled their own petrol-electric concept car at the Detroit motor show in January 2007, it was widely agreed that they were late to the party.
The Ampera E-Rev, short for extended range electric vehicle and which is due to go on sale in the UK in 2011, is a Vauxhall with a 16 kWh, 400 lb (180 kg) lithium-ion battery pack that delivers 40 miles (64 km) of motoring and a 1.4-litre petrol engine that extends the car's range to 350 miles (560 km).
On 12 December 2000, Vauxhall announced that car production at its Luton plant would cease in 2002, with the final vehicle being made in March 2002 following the end of production of the Vectra B and production of its replacement moving to Ellesmere Port alongside the Astra. Manufacture of vans (sold under the Vauxhall, Opel, Renault and Nissan badges throughout Europe) continued at the IBC Vehicles plant in Luton. On 17 May 2006, Vauxhall announced the loss of 900 jobs from Ellesmere Port's 3,000 staff, part of significant worldwide staff reductions by GM.
On 30 May 2009, a deal was announced which will lead to the spin-off of the Opel and Vauxhall brands into a new company. On 1 June 2009, Vauxhall Motors troubled parent company, General Motors filed for bankruptcy in a court in New York. By then the sale of Vauxhall and its sister subsidiary,Opel, was being negotiated as part of a strategy driven by the German government to ring fence the businesses from any General Motors asset liquidation.
The sale to Canadian-owned Magna International was agreed on 10 September 2009, with the approval of the German government. During the announcement regarding the sale, Magna promised to keep the Vauxhall factory at Ellesmere Port open until 2013, but could not guarantee any further production after that date. On 3 November 2009, the GM board called off the Magna deal after coming to the conclusion that Opel and Vauxhall Motors was crucial to GM's global strategy.

2010 to present

In May 2012, GM announced plans to move much of the production of Astra vehicles from mainland Europe to the UK. The company announced it would invest £125 million in the Ellesmere Port factory and spend about £1bn in the UK component sector.
HydroGen4 is the successor of the fuel cell vehicle Opel HydroGen3, developed by General Motors/Opel and presented in 2007 at the IAA in Frankfurt expected to hit the market in 2016.

Timeline

1857 - Marine engineer Alexander Wilson founded the Vauxhall Ironworks in Lambeth, London, and is named after the Vauxhall district of Lambeth.
1903 - The company joined the horseless carriage business, the construction of several directors cane single cylinder vehicles without a reversal, of which only one survivor could still be seen in the Science Museum in London in 1968.
1905 - Vauxhall builds a factory in Luton, where, since 1907, most of its vehicle production will be completed.
1907 - Vauxhall Motors Limited formed, based in Luton, and the name of the residential area in which its predecessor company was formed.
1925 - Opel becomes part of the American automotive combine General Motors.
1930 - Bedford Vehicles - the commercial vehicle arm of Vauxhall Motors - is founded.
1942 - New Bedford Dunstable plant opens.
1960 - Vauxhall builds a new plant in Ellesmere Port.
1963 - Production of the Vauxhall Viva small family car starts, with the new car is aimed at the likes of the Ford Anglia and Morris Minor. The German version of the car will be sold as the Opel Kadett. The locally assembled Vauxhall Viva will be launched in Australia in May 1964.
1966 - Vauxhall Slant Four goes into production - the first production overhead camshaft inline-four engine to use a rubber timing belt. Also the FD Victor is launched at the Earls Court Motor Show, considered by many as one of the best efforts of all Vauxhall British style.
1970 - The Viva HC was launched, which became best-selling car of the decade Vauxhall.
1973 - The Vauxhall Firenza "droopsnoot" was unveiled at the Earls Court Motor Show, introducing the public to new aerodynamic look for all Vauxhall models after 1970.
1974 - Vauxhall moves in the supermini with the introduction of its Chevette, a rear-drive range of hatchbacks, saloons and estates. It is the first Vauxhall saloon ever made, and in Germany it will succeed the Viva-based version of the Opel Kadett.
1975 - Opel launches a new competitor in the large family car in the shape of the Cavalier, and a coupe "SportCombi". It is a redesigned version of Opel Ascona Germany.
1978 - Opel is strengthening its position in the executive car market with the launch of its new Carlton saloon and estate, which are re-badged version of the Opel Rekord German.
1979 - Vauxhall Viva production ends after 16 years, and the car's successor is the Astra - Vauxhall first front-wheel drive car, which comes as a hatchback or an estate. It is identical to the German-made Opel Kadett, all Vauxhalls are now identical to Opel.
1981 - The second generation Vauxhall Cavalier is launched, with front-wheel drive, but it beat European Car of the Year by the Renault 9.
1982 - Opel announces the launch of the Nova supermini, which will replace the Chevette. It is available as a hatchback or a saloon.
1983 - Start of production of the farm Vauxhall Cavalier, which is produced in Australia alongside the Holden range.
1984 - The aerodynamic style Vauxhall Astra Mk2 becomes the first Vauxhall car to be voted European Car of the Year. Sales also begin the senator sedan, a luxury version of the Carlton which is the first Vauxhall to share its nameplate with Opel. A 5-door variant of the Nova is finally released.
1985 - Vauxhall launches the Belmont - a sedan version of the Astra, offering more interior space and is almost as big as a Cavalier.
1986 - Vauxhall wins another "European Car of the Year" with his brand new Vauxhall Carlton (badged Opel Omega on the continent).
1988 - Vauxhall Cavalier Mk3 goes on sale in Britain, but is sold as the Opel Vectra in Ireland and mainland Europe.
1989 - The Cavalier chassis generates the Calibra coupe, which is officially the most aerodynamic production car in the world. The production also starts Vauxhall Lotus Carlton (Opel Lotus Omega on the continent), which at 175 miles per hour (282 km / h) is the fastest Vauxhall ever made, and also the fastest four-door Vauxhall of all time.
1991 - The third generation Vauxhall Astra goes on sale Opel Astra versions take the first plate. The saloon version is badged Astra rather than Belmont. The Frontera goes into production as Vauxhall's first model of four-wheel drive.
1993 - Vauxhall Nova production ends after 10 years, and the replacement of all new plate adopts the European Corsa.
1994 - Vauxhall Carlton nameplate is abandoned after 16 years, and Omega takes place. Vauxhall also adds another vehicle with four-wheel drive line-up in the form of the Isuzu-based Monterey. Vauxhall joins the expanding "compact coupe" market with its new model based on the Corsa Tigra.
1995 - The Cavalier production ends after 20 years with its successor wearing the Vectra nameplate.
1996 - Opel Launches Large MPV Sintra ephemeral.
1998 - The fourth generation of the Opel Astra was launched. Its compact chassis generates a seven-seater Zafira minivan that went on sale next year. The Vauxhall Monterey is withdrawn from sale in the UK, although it is still sold in the rest of Europe as Opel.
2000 - Opel enters the sports car market with the Lotus-based VX220 roadster. It re-enters the market with the Astra Coupé coupe. The new Agila city car and Corsa supermini also go on sale.
2002 - The all-new Vectra goes on sale, alongside a large hatchback dubbed the Signum, which arrived the following year.
2003 - Vauxhall Omega production ends after nine years without a direct replacement, while the Meriva mini-MPV is launched.
2004 - The fifth generation of the Opel Astra goes on sale, and also creates a new version of the Zafira, Astra TwinTop and one that doubles as a coupe and convertible. La Frontera ends production after 13 years.
2006 - The third generation of the Opel Corsa goes on sale after its launch world premiere at the 2006 British International Motor Show at ExCel London.
2007 - New Opel Vauxhall Antara 4x4 is set to be released in July of that year. Vauxhall VXR8 comes with powerful 306 kW (416 PS, 410 hp).
2008 - Vauxhall begins rebranding with a modified corporate logo, no logo car looks back to the launch of the Insignia, models will only change the position of that update. Vauxhall Insignia launches in the 2008 British International Motor Show at ExCeL London, replacing the Vectra and wins another "European Car of the Year". Vauxhall Agila car city new launch.
2009 - Vauxhall Astra brand new model launch.
2010 - The new Opel Movano will be released in mid-2010, with a new Meriva is launched at the Geneva Motor Show and went on sale in mid-2010.
2011 - The Opel Ampera will be the first electric car from Vauxhall and gains a new "Car of the Year in Europe", with a new Vauxhall Combo which was released in late 2011 and a facelifted Corsa went on sale in early 2011 . Tourer Zafira compact MPV launched in late 2011.
2012 - Adam New Vauxhall city car presented at the Paris Motor Show in late 2012, with sales beginning in early 2013. New Opel Mokka compact SUV launched in 2012 Geneva Motor Show.

Products

List of Vauxhall caar models

Category
Models
Current models
Passenger cars: Adam, Agila, Ampera, Antara, Astra, Cascada, Corsa, Insignia, Meriva, Mokka, VXR8 GTS, Zafira Tourer
Commercial vehicles: Corsavan, Astravan, Combo, Movano, Vivaro
Historic models
Passenger cars: 10-4, 12-4, 14-6, 14 and 14/40, 20/60, 23/60, 25, 25/70, 30/98, A-Type, B-type, C-Type, D-type, Belmont, Calibra, Carlton, Cavalier, Chevette, Cresta, Firenza, Frontera, Magnum, Monaro, Monterey, Nova, Omega, Royale, Senator, Signum, Sintra, Vectra, Velox, Viceroy, Victor, Viscount, Viva, VX220, VX4/90, Wyvern
Commercial vehicles:
Bedford: Astramax, Beagle, Brava, CF, Chevanne, Dormobile, KB, Midi, Rascal
Vauxhall: Arena, Brava
Concept cars
Equus, Silver Aero, Silver Bullet, SRV, VX Lightning, XVR

Gallery

Vauxhall Insignia

A Vauxhall Vivaro in service with the British Transport Police

Vauxhall 30/98 Special 1923

Vauxhall Velox 4-door Saloon 1958

Vauxhall FBD Victor 4-door Saloon 1963

2003 Vauxhall VX Lightning Concept

Relationship with other GM products

The Carlton Mark I Estate, in production from 1978 to 1986
General Motors began to merge the product lines of Vauxhall and Opel in the early 1970s, largely in favour of Opel products. The first exponent of this strategy was the 1975 Vauxhall Chevette, which was a reworked Opel Kadett. By the end of the 1970s most Vauxhalls were based on Opel designs. The ChevetteCavalier and Carlton were restyled versions of the KadettAscona and Rekord respectively, featuring a distinctive sloping front end, nicknamed the "droopsnoot", first prototyped on the HPF Firenza, although some models from these ranges still used Vauxhall engines. However the Carlton/Viceroy and Royale were simply rebadged versions of Opel's Opel Commodore C and Senator, imported from Germany. Vauxhall Chevettes and Cavaliers were produced in left hand drive for sale in Continental Europe, the Cavalier initially being built at GM's plant in AntwerpBelgium.
With the 1979 demise of the last solely Vauxhall design, the Viva, GM policy was for future Vauxhall models to be, in effect, rebadged Opels, designed and developed primarily in Rüsselsheim. The original Astra, launched in 1980, set the eventual precedent for all GM Europe vehicles from that point onward - apart from the badging it had no styling or engineering difference from its Opel sister - the Kadett D. In the late '70s and early '80s, GM dealers in Ireland and the United Kingdom sold highly similar Opel and Vauxhall models alongside each other. This policy of duplication was phased out, beginning with the demise of separate Opel dealerships in the UK in 1981, the remainder becoming Vauxhall-Opel. The last Opel car (the Manta coupé) to be officially sold in Britain was withdrawn in 1988.
Similarly, the Vauxhall brand was dropped by GM in Ireland in favour of Opel in 1982, with other right hand drive markets like Malta and Cyprus soon following suit. In New Zealand, the brand was withdrawn in favour of Holden after the demise of the Chevette. GM Europe then began to standardise model names across both brands in the early 1990s. The Vauxhall Astra and Opel Kadett, for example, were both called Astra from 1991 onwards and the Vauxhall Nova and Opel Corsa were both called Corsa from 1993. The change was completed in 1995 when the Vauxhall Cavalier Mk 3 (=Opel Vectra A) was replaced by the Opel Vectra B, called Vauxhall Vectra. Apart from the VX220, sold by Opel as the Speedster, all of Vauxhall's subsequent models have had the same names as those of Opel.
Since 1994, Vauxhall models differ from Opels in their distinctive grille – featuring a "V", incorporating the Vauxhall badge. This has also been used by Holden in New Zealand, by Chevrolet in Brazil on the Mk1 Chevrolet Astra (Opel Astra F) and on the Indian version of the Opel Astra. The "V" badging is an echo of the fluted V-shaped bonnets that have been used in some form on all Vauxhall cars since the very first. The "V" grille is not however used on the Vectra-replacing Insignia, unveiled in 2008 and the 2009 Vauxhall Astra and the 2010 Vauxhall Meriva. All the above, plus the US Saturn brand up to its demise in 2009, used the same grille bar with the "V" almost entirely muted out. These bars all carried identical badge mounts, enabling brand badges to be readily interchangeable.
A model unique to the Vauxhall range was the high-performance Monaro coupé, which was sourced from and designed by Holden in Australia. Although this model was also produced in left hand drive (LHD) for markets like the U.S. (where it was known as the Pontiac GTO) and for the Middle East and South Africa (as the Chevrolet Lumina), the model was not offered by Opel in mainland Europe. Imports of this vehicle are limited to 15,000 to avoid additional safety testing. Future vehicles that have been confirmed by Vauxhall, but not by Opel, are the Holden Commodore SSV and the HSV GTS. Vauxhall confirmed the importation of the GTS just after the reborn Opel GT roadster was announced as not being imported into the UK.
The bodywork for the Holden Camira estate was used for the Vauxhall Cavalier estate in the UK (though not for the identical Opel Ascona in the rest of Europe) – conversely the rear bodywork of the T-car Vauxhall Chevette estate and Bedford Chevanne van was used for the respective Holden Gemini versions. Vauxhall's compact car, the Viva, formed the basis of the first Holden Torana in Australia in the 1960s.
Many cars badged as Opels, even LHD models, are produced by Vauxhall for export. Vauxhall has built some Holdens for export, too, notably Vectra-As to New Zealand and Astra-Bs to both Australia and New Zealand.
VauxhallOpel
NovaCorsa A
ChevetteKadett C
Astra Mk 1Kadett D
Astra Mk 2Kadett E
Cavalier Mk 1Ascona B
Cavalier Mk 2Ascona C
Cavalier Mk 3Vectra A
Carlton Mk 1Rekord E
Carlton Mk 2Omega A
ViceroyCommodore C
RoyaleSenator A

VXRacing

The VX220, in production from 2000 to 2005
The VXR range is analogous to the OPC range made by Opel Performance Center, the HSV range made by Holden Special Vehicles in Australia and the SS range made by Latin America Chevrolet. The models include the Corsa VXRAstra VXRInsignia VXRMeriva VXRZafira VXRVXR8VX220(no longer in production), and the Australian-built Holden Monaro (also no longer in production). These vehicles are high-performance machines, and are ideally aimed for younger buyers. Vauxhall unveiled a new model based on the Australian HSV Maloo at the 2005 National Exhibition Centre motor show in Birmingham, England. It was claimed that the monstrous V8 Ute had a top speed around 200 mph (320 km/h) – which is extremely fast for autility vehicle. However, the model never got to the showroom in the United Kingdom. The Monaro is also no longer made, but a new version (a four-door saloon) is now on sale as the VXR8. The VXR8 is based on Australia's HSV Clubsport R8. This car reaches 0–60 in 5 seconds, in similar territory to other muscle car contemporaries such as the Dodge Viper (SRT-10) and Corvette Z06 – and marginally slower than the FPV FG F6. The VXR badge is a symbol of the combined technological resources of the global General Motors group, and the recognised expertise of consultants Lotus and the Triple Eight Racing Team.

Motorsport

Tom Chilton driving for Vauxhall at the Oulton Park
round of the 2007 British Touring Car Championship
Vauxhall have competed successfully in several forms of motorsport.
During the 1970s Vauxhall had a strong presence on the British rallying scene. The Magnum coupe was heavier and less powerful than the dominantFord Escort, but still put up some strong performances in the hands of drivers such as Will Sparrow and Brian Culcheth. From 1976, Vauxhall decided to heighten their profile in the sport by building a homologation-special version of the Vauxhall Chevette, known as the Chevette HS. This was a much more serious contender, and in the hands of drivers such as Pentti Airikkala, Tony Pond, Russell Brookes and Jimmy McRae it and its successor version, the Chevette HSR, won many events in Britain and Europe. Airikkala won the British Rally Championship in a Chevette in 1980.
The Chevette was retired in 1983, and effort was concentrated for the next few years on the Group B Opel Manta 400. However, the Vauxhall Astra andVauxhall Nova were campaigned in the lower power classes during the mid-1980s, and became popular amateurs’ cars thanks to their reliability, ease of tuning and ready supply of parts. After the banning of Group B in 1986 the Group A Astra returned to the forefront. As a two-litre, front-wheel-drive car it was unable to challenge the four-wheel-drive cars for outright victory, but did score top ten placings on several World Championship events. Louise Aitken-Walker won the ladies’ World Championship in 1990 in an Astra, despite a serious accident on that year’s Rally of Portugal when her car rolled down a hillside and into a lake.
During 1991-2 serious consideration was given to campaigning the four-wheel-drive version of the Vauxhall Calibra in British and possibly world rallies, and a trial version contested the 1993 Swedish Rally in the hands of Stig Blomqvist. However, the cost was judged prohibitive, and in any case the ‘Formula 2’ category had been introduced into British rallying. The latest version of the Astra was an ideal contender, and won the category in the 1993 and 1994 championships, driven by David Llewellin. Vauxhall campaigned successive versions of the Astra in the British championship until the late 1990s.
Vauxhall first entered the British Touring Car Championship with the Vauxhall Cavalier in 1989. The lead driver was John Cleland, who remained with the team until his retirement in 1999. The Cavalier was competitive, and often the fastest front-wheel-drive car in the series, and Cleland was second in the title race in 1992, and then fourth in the following two years. In 1995, however, he won the title (adding to his 1989 title win in an Astra). The Cavalier was replaced by the Vectra for 1996. Yvan Muller was sixth in the 1999 British Touring Car Championship and fourth in 2000.
In 2001 the BTCC regulations changed and Vauxhall brought the Astra Coupe into the BTCC. The Astra would dominate the BTCC between 2001 and 2004 with the drivers title won by Jason Platoin 2001, James Thompson in 2002 - 2004 and Yvan Muller in 2003. Vauxhall also won the Manufacturers Award and Teams Award every year also.
In 2005 the Astra Coupe was replaced by the Astra Sport Hatch however it was not as competitive as the Astra Coupe and restricted success for Vauxhall in 2005 and 2006.
In 2007 The regulations changed again and Vauxhall brought the Vectra back. The Vectra brought success back to Vauxhall after Fabrizio Giovanardi won the 2007 and 2008 BTCC championship. Fabrizio Giovanardi finished 3rd in the championship in 2009 before Vauxhall pulled sponsorship out at the end of 2009 due to and the economic crisis and lack of official manufacturers in the BTCC.

Logo

The griffin emblem, which is still in use, is derived from the coat of arms of Falkes de Breauté, a mercenary soldier who was granted the Manor of Luton for services to King John in the thirteenth century. By marriage, he also gained the rights to an area near London, south of the Thames. The house he built, Fulk's Hall, became known in time as Vauxhall. Vauxhall Iron Works adopted this emblem from the coat of arms to emphasise its links to the local area. When Vauxhall Iron Works moved to Luton in 1905, the griffin emblem coincidentally returned to its ancestral home.
The logo as pictured used to be square, but it is now circular, to enable it to fit in the same recess designed for the circular Opel emblem. Since the 1920s, the griffin has been redesigned and released 9 times. 2008 saw the release of a revised version of the 2005 logo. Bill Parfitt, Chairman and Managing Director of GM UK, said, "While the new-look Griffin pays homage to our 100 year-plus manufacturing heritage in the UK, it also encapsulates Vauxhall's fresh design philosophy, first showcased in the current Astra, and set to continue with Insignia."
The Vauxhall logo of the 1970s and 1980s

The Vauxhall logo of the 1990s and 2000s

The current Vauxhall grillplate (2008 to present)

Sponsorships

Vauxhall Motors sponsored the Football Conference, the highest non-league division of English football, from 1986 until 1998. It took over from Gola, and remained in association with the league for twelve years, before ending its backing and being replaced by Nationwide Building Society. In 2011, Vauxhall became the primary sponsor for the home nations national football teams (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales).

Last updated on 29 August 2013 at 21:17.

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