Opinion: Why are people not buying Vauxhalls?

British brand, British-built car, what's not to like? Plenty, it seems

Vauxhall badgeAnother month of falling new car sales, another decline in registrations of Vauxhalls. Only in July 2017, it was an eye-watering decline. In 2017, nearly 42 percent fewer Vauxhalls were registered than during the same month in 2016. 42 percent!

In raw numbers, that’s a fall from 19,733 cars to just 11,528 vehicles. 8205 fewer cars sold. And for a brand that was once Britain’s de facto number two – and, at times during the 1990s, the best-selling car maker in the country – that’s little short of staggering.


More Vauxhall on MR:

PSA’s purchase of Vauxhall/Opel from General Motors is complete
Ford vs. Vauxhall: retro hot hatch showdown
New car sales plummet for fourth month in a row


Last month, Vauxhall market share was not only obviously worse than Ford, but also below Volkswagen, Audi… even Mercedes-Benz! Fair enough with VW beating it, as the dieselgate-struck brand is currently very keen to cycle people into the uber-desirable new Golf… but the UK’s only genuinely British volume brand beaten by not one but two premium brands? Something’s really not right there.

Vauxhall has in the past said that it’s fine with market share declines, as it’s chasing profitable sales, not sales at any cost. That’s all well and good, but there has to be a limit to this, surely? Has to be a point at which throughput of new cars at dealers simply isn’t good enough? And how much profit can you really stretch out of an Astra or Corsa, anyway

The new Astra is a good car, and a British-built one at that. Why it’s not selling is thus strange: it’s received strong press reviews and surely the UK-made element is more relevant than ever in our Brexit-obsessed world. Point the finger at bad marketing, perhaps? Because there’s no excuse for it not appearing on the top 10 best-sellers chart for July, not when the ageing Ford Focus can take the top spot.

Superminis are Britain’s favourite type of new car, and here, Vauxhall is hamstrung because the dreary Corsa is now so aged. It’s so archaic, it’s not even able to capitalise on the Ford Fiesta being in model switchover mode: whereas the Ford still came fourth, the Corsa barely struggled to eighth, just 10 units ahead of the Merc A-Class.

As for the rest of Vauxhall’s range, they were nowhere: no Mokka X or Crossland X despite Britain’s love of SUVs, no Insignia Grand Sport despite the new model being again well received. In the same week that its takeover by PSA was confirmed, with new boss Carlos Tavares vowing to keep both the German Opel and British Vauxhall brands, something needs to happen in the management suite at Luton, and fast. Because such a pitiful monthly sales performance really can’t go on for much longer.

Related Articles

Richard Aucockhttps://www.motoringresearch.com/
I'm director at Motoring Research. I run a bit, cycle a bit, have a huge love for the automotive industry.

7 COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest

What is a Low Traffic Neighbourhood?

A Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) is designed to discourage or restrict use of cars by non-local motorists. But the concept divides opinion.

New Fiat 500: prices, specs and release date of Fiat’s all-electric city car

The new Fiat 500 will be priced from £19,995 and ordering will open later in the year for first deliveries from March 2021

Government warned over 2021 ‘automated driving’ plans

Thatcham Research and the ABI have warned lives could be put at risk by government plans to introduce automated driving on UK motorways in spring 2021

How to avoid being a victim of lockdown car fraud

Motorists are being warned to be on their guard following a spate of car-related scams and fraud during the coronavirus lockdown.