Vauxhall turns up the volume

  12 October 2015

The interest around September’s plate change figures is always worth a closer look. Vauxhall trumpeting the fact that it sold more cars and vansin the retail market than any other car maker – according to the SMMTs figures – was of particular interest in light of the recent exit of MD Tim Tozer.

What made Tozer’s exit more newsworthy than most departures was the surprise element, and that it happened around the time of a major new product launch. The latest Brit-built Astra is a big deal for both manufacturing and retailing, after all.

However, it was no secret that Tozer wasn’t a fan of the volume-intensive strategy favoured by his bosses in Europe. It’s never easy balancing market share, turnover and profit, but it would appear that prioritising market share potentially at the expense of other factors was the final straw. Don’t forget, Tozer’s background included high-ranking positions at auto retailers, making him qualified to appreciate both sides of the business.

With all that in mind, reading news of Vauxhall’s new ‘scrappage’ initiative and a tie-up with a ‘black box’ young driver-friendly insurer made me smile. Nothing shouts “volume” like these two promotions. And that’s before you factor in the rumoured generous discounts; sources close to Agenda have suggested the could be as high as 40 percent.

There’s now a new boss at Vauxhall but this ‘new broom’ approach appears to have resulted in age-old practices. The pressure is certainly on to deliver, and only time will tell whether this new plan really does translate into increased retailer footfall, dependable sales and meaningful aftersales business.

Iain Dooley

Editor, Agenda

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