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Vauxhall Dealers; A Constant Rivalry With Ford

Jul 25, 2008
Vauxhall dealers have always been considered the budget option for those buying a new car. While this may not be true today, Vauxhall can trace a heritage of supplying the British public with cars that, unlike Bentleys and Rollers were always in grasp. The company can trace its history back over a century. Dealers today are proud of this heritage as one of the most popular car brands with the British public.

The person who founded Vauxhall was Alex Wilson. Originally however, Mr Wilson did not set out to manufacture and sell motorcars, the first items to roll out of the Vauxhall Company were engines and pumps, predominantly used in the maritime sphere. Wilson soon abandoned this however when he saw how lucrative owning a motor company could be, like most wheeler dealers, he had the ability to spot a profit making opportunity.

Once the company was producing cars for their dealers around the country they soon caught the eye of American manufacturer General Motors. This leviathan of the motor industry launched a bid to buy out the British company and succeeded. The eventual deal saw Vauxhall being sold for two and half million dollars, at the time this was a large sum and gave GM control over all aspects of Wilson's operation. The factories, dealers and workers; to coin a phrase, GM now owned Vauxhall 'lock, stock and barrel'.

Sadly for the British company this collusion with General Motors meant that for fifty years their development was stifled by a parent company that was interested in exporting its ideas rather than nourishing the talent of the British design team. For many years, Vauxhall cars had the same design elements as their American cousins. These were never extremely popular with the public although thanks to American know how of mass production, at least they were affordable.

During the war Vauxhall stopped producing cars and instead helped with the war effort. This meant that the factories were converted to manufacture the Churchill Tank. After the war the company attempted to regain a strong sales platform in a period when spending on cars was at a low. It was during this period that the company developed a rivalry with Ford that continues today.

The Ford, Vauxhall rivalry became especially fierce during the sixties and seventies. Both were attempting to take the largest chunk of the budget car market in the UK. For many years, Ford had the advantage and Vauxhall were forced to play catch up.

In the early seventies the Vauxhall Company released two models, the Viva and Victor. While the Victor was a pretty mediocre model the Viva set a standard of small family car that has seemingly created a whole new category in the motor industry. Ford at this time had the Cortina and Corsair; both were popular although the Cortina became the most popular budget car in the country. In addition, at this stage there was a third competitor in the British car market; this was British Leyland and although it is now no longer in existence, at the time it was quite a force in the motor industry.

The rivalry between Ford and Vauxhall continues to this day although in the modern climate although it is less fierce today. Vauxhall have managed to catch and overtake their rivals. Recent surveys have placed Vauxhall as the favourite car manufacturer with the British public thanks to a range of cars to suit all purposes. It has been through dedication and the efforts of the company's dealers that this dream has become a reality.
About the Author
Motor industry expert Thomas Pretty looks into how the cars in Vauxhall dealers have developed through the years.
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