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Ellesemere Port plant

Vauxhall to 3D-print ventilators for the NHS

Ellesemere Port plant

More than 60 companies have responded to the government’s request to help produce 20,000 ventilators to treat coronavirus patients. Vauxhall is the latest company to step up, with Jaguar Land Rover and Rolls-Royce also saying they will provide support.

Vauxhall has offered to help with 3D printing and the production of the crucial devices. The car company, which is now owned by the French automotive giant PSA, will work from technical drawings and blueprints provided by the government.

The Department of Health says that the NHS could require up to 20,000 additional ventilators. It currently has 5,000 adult ventilators and 900 for children.

Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port factory is one of a number of PSA’s European plants that has closed due to the coronavirus. Ellesmere Port is likely to remain closed until 27 March at the earliest.

In a statement, the company said: “Due to the acceleration observed in recent days of serious COVID-19 cases close to certain production sites, supply disruptions from major suppliers, as well as the sudden decline in the automobile markets, the chairman of the executive board with the members of the crisis unit, decided the principle of the closure of the vehicle production sites, according to the following schedule and until March 27.”

Vauxhall’s Luton plant, which is home to the Vivaro van, is scheduled to close tomorrow (19 March).

The closure of the Ellesmere Port factory will free up capacity to make ventilators.

‘Experts at assembly’

Ellesemere Port Vauxhall

Helen Foord, head of government relations at Vauxhall, told The Guardian: “We are experts at assembly and efficient mass production; we know how to process and we know how to make it lean.

“We’ve offered our services as an assembly plant and we have 3D-printing capability at Ellesmere Port, too.”

David Bailey, a professor of business economics at Birmingham University, warned that it could take time for car manufacturers to be in a position to build the ventilators. He said: “What’s most likely is that if there’s a manufacturer already making ventilators that wants to work 24/7, other manufacturers could help in terms of staff, components and supply chains, supporting them in that way.

“Technicians could be redeployed to operate machinery on different production lines where there are similar manufacturing processes in place.

“Longer-term it might be about production lines but it would take a while to tool up. The issues will be supply chains. Where are these components coming from and if there is disruption, can they be purchased locally instead?”

Revealed: cars that generated the most service work in 2019

Vauxhall Corsa most serviced car

A new report has revealed the UK’s most serviced cars of 2019. In other words, the cars that generated the most aftersales work.

The Vauxhall Corsa D, built between 2006 and 2014, takes the top spot – one of four Vauxhall cars in the top 10.

It’s the same story internationally, with the Opel Corsa finishing ahead of the Ford Focus and Nissan Qashqai.

The study is based on the 85,000 workshops subscribed to Autodata, the company behind the report. Globally, the most accessed service modules are engine oil, technical specifications and camshaft drive systems.

Rod Williams, managing director of Autodata, said: “Autodata’s continuous evolution of the product enables us to provide customers with increasingly valuable technical resources.

“Data from our extensive global database allows us to see where the demand for content exists so that we can provide the most in-demand and up-to-date information to workshops.”

Top ten most serviced cars in the UK

  1. Vauxhall/Opel Corsa D (2006-2014)
  2. Ford Fiesta (2013)
  3. Ford Focus (2004/2008)
  4. Vauxhall/Opel Astra J (2009-2015)
  5. Ford Fiesta (2008)
  6. Fiat 500/500C (2007-)
  7. Vauxhall/Opel Insignia A (2008-2017)
  8. Ford Focus (2011)
  9. Vauxhall/Opel Astra H (2004-2009)
  10. Nissan Qashqai/Qashqai+2 (2006-2013)

With the models combined, Ford is the most serviced manufacturer in the UK, while the Ford Transit (2006) is the most serviced van. The Honda CBR is the most serviced motorcycle.

ASA rejects Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV advert complaints

Automotive Management has studied the data and discovered that national brands dominate servicing in their respective countries. In Germany, all top 10 positions were filled by German cars, and it was the same for French cars in France.

In Italy, 50 percent of the cars in the top 10 were Italian, while 70 percent of the top 10 cars in Sweden were Swedish, with Volvo taking the top three slots.

Back in the UK, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was the most serviced hybrid vehicle, while the Nissan Leaf took the honours in the electric segment. The Tesla Model S finished second.

Vauxhall offers £15 winter check for any car

Vauxhall all makes winter check-up

Vauxhall is offering a winter check-up for £15, and you don’t need to drive a Vauxhall to get one. All makes are included, from Ford to Ferrari, or Lexus to Lamborghini.

It will consist of a 29-point visual inspection from a Vauxhall technician, to make sure your car is ready for the colder weather.

They will check the battery, lights and heating. They will also look for ways that potholes could have damaged your car, including the tyres, wheels and suspension.

Vauxhall all makes winter check-up

Six fluids – screen wash, anti-freeze, oil, brake fluid, clutch fluid and power steering fluid – will also be checked and topped up if need be.

You’ll pay a maximum of £15 for the checkover, although there is a benefit to being a Vauxhall driver and member of the service club. They pay just £10.

Vauxhall all makes winter check-up

Finally, Vauxhall has made a decent car advert

Vauxhall Motability advert

Vauxhall has been responsible for some truly shocking television adverts. Proper snotters that shouldn’t have got further than the ad agency’s beautifully appointed presentation room.

‘Pyjama Mamas’ was a recent horror show. Vauxhall called it its ‘cheekiest campaign to date’, promising to deliver ‘attitude, confidence and swagger’. Three words you wouldn’t use to describe a Vauxhall crossover. The misplaced self-confidence of the advert was only slightly less painful than the sound of someone dragging their nails down a blackboard.

Katie Mackay, head of strategy at Mother, the agency responsible for the campaign, said, “In a sea of SUV sameness, it’s been a joy to give the Crossland X a platform that befits the swagger and style of the car and its future drivers, while giving Vauxhall a contemporary voice in British culture.”

Kind of ironic, given that the Crossland X is the perfect representation of ‘SUV sameness’. Swaggerz. Lolz.

Vauxhall Pyjama Mamas

In 2013, Vauxhall murdered a classic Ian Dury track in the name of the Astra. Some songs should be covered – God bless Joe Cocker for perfecting With A Little Help From My Friends – but others should be left well alone. Sheryl Crow should have known better than to attempt Sweet Child O’ Mine

Back to Vauxhall. Some of us are still scarred by the sight of a bearded Griff Rhys Jones in blue Y-fronts – and sales of the VX220 never truly recovered.

The one shining light in a little fog of horrors is the advert showing Cavaliers being crash tested, but this might have something to do with the genius of Peter Gabriel.

But now, Vauxhall has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the Motability Scheme. There are no Y-fronts, weird puppets, small children with grown-up voices, Rule Britannia guff or reverse snobbery nonsense.

Instead, it’s down-to-earth, touching and simple. Better to hear real people singing a classic song, than to hear yet another slowed down, piano-rich and whimsical murder of a famous tune. Speaking of which, it’ll soon be time for the Christmas ads…  

Vauxhall outlines EV plans, with electric Astra on the way

Vauxhall electric 2021 - 2024

Vauxhall has reaffirmed its dedication to electrification, promising eight electrified models by 2021. By 2024, the company says its entire range will be fully electric or hybrid-powered.

It’s the first time Vauxhall has talked strategy since the reveal of the new Corsa, which includes an electric version.

Vauxhall electric 2021 - 2024

In addition to the Corsa-e and hybridised Grandland X SUV, Vauxhall is looking to release an all-electric variant of its Vivaro van in 2020.

Joining it will be an electric version of the next Mokka X crossover, presumably sharing many parts with the Corsa. Combo and Combo Life EVs will follow, along with an electric Vivaro Life in 2021.

Within three years, we can expect to see an electric Astra in Vauxhall’s line-up. 

Vauxhall electric 2021 - 2024

“We will electrify our entire product portfolio by 2024. Further models will follow very soon after we made the start with the Corsa-e and the Grandland X Hybrid4 this year,” said Vauxhall/Opel CEO, Michael Lohscheller.

“This product portfolio will put us in an excellent position to meet the ambitious future emission targets in Europe. Electro-mobility is an indispensable component in this. 

“But our ultra-modern and efficient combustion engines and research into fuel cells at the Rüsselsheim-based Centre of Competence will also make an important contribution to making our company sustainable and future-proof.”

Pumpkin power: Vauxhall van put to the test ferrying giant veg

Vauxhall Combo giant veg stand

Vauxhall has taken on a unique project to put its Combo Cargo van to the test. It’s helped create the UK’s biggest fruit and veg stall. How? By lugging 800kg of vegetables, including three-foot square pumpkins and four-foot square marrows.

No, they’re not props for a scene in a Harry Potter film. No, it’s not a scale model of the Combo van. Those really are enormous vegetables in Vauxhall’s compact hauler.

“The giant veg stall is our way of celebrating the hard work of giant veg growers and other small businesses around the UK,” said giant veg world record breaker Kevin Fortey.

Vauxhall Combo giant veg stand

“Transportation is key in the giant veg growing community. After growing these beauties for up to 10 months, you need to be able to get them from A to B safely and securely. But with the enhanced capabilities of small vans like the Combo Cargo you don’t necessarily need the biggest van to be able to get the job done.”

Vauxhall took on this weird and wonderful challenge to highlight just how useful its small van can be to small businesses. No matter how specific their business area. Lugging prize-winning monster vegetables is one fun way of getting that message across.

Small businesses in London have been feeling the fire recently with the introduction of the ULEZ. Vauxhall is keen to highlight that the Combo is low-emission zone-friendly.

Vauxhall Combo giant veg stand

“Vauxhall is delighted to support the diverse and creative small businesses across the UK,” commented Patrick Fourniol, marketing director at Vauxhall Motors. 

“From plumbers and plasterers to more niche fields like giant vegetable growing, the capabilities and features of modern commercial vehicles have been designed to turbocharge sole traders and small businesses so they can meet customer demands, no matter the payload.”

Vauxhall Corsa is the UK’s best-selling car

Vauxhall Corsa best-selling car in September

The Vauxhall Corsa was the UK’s best-selling car in September. This, in a month in which new car registrations rose by just 1.3 percent.

A total of 343,255 new cars hit the road in September, fuelled by an 8.6 percent rise in the number of fleet registrations. Private sales rose by a modest 0.1 percent, as the new registration changeover failed to have a significant impact on the depressed market.

Year-to-date figures are down 2.5 percent overall, as the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) warns against a ‘no deal‘ Brexit.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “September’s modest growth belies the ongoing downward trend we’ve seen over the past 30 months.

“We expected to see a more significant increase in September, similar to those seen in France, Germany, Italy and Spain, given the negative effect WLTP had on all European markets last year. Instead, consumer confidence is being undermined by political and economic uncertainty.

“We need to restore stability to the market which means avoiding a ‘no deal’ Brexit and, moreover, agreeing a future relationship with the EU that avoids tariffs and barriers that could increase prices and reduce buyer choice.”

Corsa is number one

Vauxhall Corsa

The Vauxhall Corsa has toppled the Ford Fiesta as the nation’s number one, as dealers clear the decks ahead of the next-generation Corsa’s arrival in 2020.

Registrations have been boosted by highly competitive finance and leasing deals, with the Corsa offering extraordinary value for money to those who aren’t prepared to wait until next year for the new car.

The all-new model – which shares a platform with the new Peugeot 208 – will include an electric variant.

Ford shifted 11,643 Fiestas in September, so it remains the best-selling car of 2019 with 64,564 registrations. Meanwhile, the Vauxhall Corsa (47,574) leapfrogs the Volkswagen Golf (46,492) and Ford Focus (45,932) to become the second best-selling car of the year so far.

Top 10 September registrations

  1. Vauxhall Corsa: 12,921
  2. Ford Fiesta: 11,643
  3. Mercedes-Benz A-Class: 9,807
  4. Mini: 8,269
  5. Nissan Qashqai: 7,987
  6. Ford Focus: 7,944
  7. Volkswagen Golf: 7,272
  8. Kia Sportage: 5,860
  9. Ford Kuga: 5,691
  10. BMW 3 Series: 5,038

A false dawn?

News of a positive month is tempered by the fact that last September saw a massive 20.5 percent decline in sales, when new emissions regulations and lack of testing capacity across Europe affected supply.

It’s also worth noting that the UK’s small increase is in stark contrast to other major European markets which saw a double-digit rise in registrations.

“The market is being subdued by the added pressure of the political and economic uncertainty, with weak confidence stopping consumers from committing to big ticket purchases,“ said the SMMT.

On the plus side, the electric car market recorded a 236.4 percent (5,414 units) increase in registrations, with plug-in hybrid sales up for the first time in six months.

Corsa-E Rally racer debut at Frankfurt

Vauxhall has made an electric Corsa rally car

Corsa-E Rally racer debut at Frankfurt

Vauxhall’s European sister company Opel has made an electric rally car. It’s to be the first car manufacturer in the world to offer an electric car for customer rallying. The Corsa-E Rally, based on the EV variant of the new hatch, is to debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.

In appearance, it’s as much a grassroots rally hero as any internal combustion-powered car. A lurid silver and green livery covers aggressive front and rear bumpers. The wheels are lightweight, four-stud Speedlines and there are bonnet clips.

Corsa-E Rally racer debut at Frankfurt

We’ve no view of the cabin yet. You can bet that it’s been comprehensively stripped, though. Bucket seats in place of the standard items and a competition wheel are dead certs. We’d be surprised if there was a sequential shifter to be found in there, though…

The car will be used in the Opel e-Rally Cup, which is also the first branded cup for electric cars in the world. The series is set to begin in the summer of next year, and should offer young rally drivers a great first step on the rally ladder.

Each race will feature 15 examples of the electric Corsa rally car, which will cost less than £46,000. In terms of performance, it should produce around 130hp and 177lb ft. How that instant electric performance will feel off-road will be interesting to see.

Corsa-E Rally racer debut at Frankfurt

As above, the rally car, of course, complements the new road car. You can reserve one of those right now for £500. The first 500 customers will get a home charge kit for free.

The road-going Corsa-E will cost from £26,490 (after the £3,500 plug-in grant). It should be capable of up to 205 miles of range, and should recuperate up to 80 percent of its battery capacity within 30 minutes if connected to a fast-charger. 

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Own an electric Vauxhall Corsa-e for £270 a month

Electric Vauxhall Corsa-e

The all-electric Vauxhall Corsa-e is available for a competitive £270 a month when you sign-up for a four-year PCP deal.

Furthermore, if you’re one of the first 500 customers to place an order, you’ll receive a free electric home charging kit worth more than £800.

The cost-effective PCP deal is based on a relatively hefty deposit of £5,549.40, but you’ll enjoy four years of zero-emissions motoring and a 205-mile electric range. The one catch: you’re unlikely to take delivery before April 2020.

All that’s required is a £500 reservation fee, although this is fully refundable on purchase.

Electric Vauxhall Corsa-e free charger

The electric Corsa-e comes with an 11kW on-board charger, with 62 miles available from a 2.5-hour charge via a standard household socket. Use a 7kW wallbox and a full charge is available in 7.5 hours.

Use a public fast charger, and 80 percent capacity is available in just 30 minutes.

There are two electric Corsa-e models available: the entry-level SE Nav for £26,490 and the Elite Nav for £29,810. These prices are AFTER the £3,500 government plug-in car grant.

SE Nav offers a generous level of equipment, but Elite Nav adds a rear-view camera, 10-inch colour touchscreen, eight-inch colour instrument cluster, lane departure warning, winter pack, keyless entry and start, and 17-inch alloy wheels.

The optional Orange Fizz paintwork (pictured) costs £650.

Corsa-e or e-208?

Electric Corsa-e interior

The all-electric Vauxhall Corsa-e will receive its world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, ahead of series production starting in January next year.

Alternatively, you could opt for the platform-sharing Peugeot e-208. The French supermini undercuts the Vauxhall by around £1,500, with prices starting from £25,050 after the plug-in car grant. 

First deliveries will take place in early 2020, but you’ll have to wait until 22 August to place your order. The Vauxhall Corsa-e is available to order now, but you’ll need to be quick if you want a free home charging kit.

New Vauxhall Astra prices start from £18,885

Facelifted Vauxhall Astra with new engines

Vauxhall has opened ordering for the facelifted Astra range with prices starting from £18,885. Deliveries are set to begin in November 2018.

As before, Vauxhall has a somewhat bewildering array of seven different variants. The range opens with SE, while £700 more buys the fleet-focused Business Edition Nav.

The sporty-looking SRi costs from £21,895, and is also offered as an SRi Nav and SRi VX Line Nav. Elite Nav and Ultimate Nav sit at the top of the range.

The Sport Tourer estate is the load-lugging alternative to the five-door hatchback. It costs from £20,335, or £1,440 more than the hatch.

Sport Tourer models are easier to buy: they’re only offered in SE, Business Edition Nav or SRi Nav guise.

We’ve included full prices at the bottom, but they’re not the only area that’s changed. Here’s what else you need to know about the new Astra

New active aerodynamics

Facelifted Vauxhall Astra with new engines

The new Astra is one of the most aerodynamic cars in its class. The hatchback and Sports Tourer estate achieve drag coefficients of 0.26 and 0.25 respectively.

Parts of the suspension have been streamlined, in combination with underbody smoothing to reduce turbulence.

At the front, the upper and lower areas of the grille can open and shut independently depending on cooling requirements, to further optimise airflow. Who says active aerodynamics should be the preserve of McLarens and Ferraris?

Infotainment from the Insignia

Facelifted Vauxhall Astra with new engines

Inside, the first thing you’ll notice is the eight-inch touchscreen with new Multimedia Navi and Navi Pro systems from the larger Insignia. The implementation is sleek, although it’s still a bit of a stretch for the driver. Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatibility comes as standard.

The partially digitised instrument cluster doesn’t quite match fully digital setups in rivals for configurability and sophistication, but it’s a worthwhile update nonetheless.

Wireless phone charging is available on some higher-end models, as is a heated windscreen with near-invisible heating elements. A seven-speaker Bose sound system should liven things up a bit, too. Vauxhall says it “transforms the Astra into a concert hall”.

No more four-cylinder engines

Facelifted Vauxhall Astra with new engines

The Astra is available with a new range of petrol and diesel engines. All have three cylinders and feature new CO2-reducing tech and electrically activated turbos. Water-cooled in-head manifolds significantly reduce post-start emissions by speeding up the warm-up process. 

The headline figure is that consumption and emissions are reduced by up to 19 percent versus predecessors.

There are four petrol engines available. Three come in 1.2-litre format, offering 110, 130 and 145hp. They achieve between 51 and 54mpg on the WLTP fuel cycle, and produce between 120 and 127g/km of CO2.

The 1.4 matches the top-end 1.2 for power, with 145hp, but has 174Ib ft of torque – versus 165lb ft for the 1.2. It does, however, suffer in efficiency terms, delivering between 47 and 49mpg while producing between 132 and 136g/km of CO2. The 1.4 is available exclusively with a CVT auto transmission.

Facelifted Vauxhall with new engines

The new 1.5-litre diesels come in 105 and 122hp outputs. The latter is available with the latest nine-speed automatic transmission.

They manage a WLTP-rated 61 and 62mpg with the six-speed manual ‘box, and between 53 and 57mpg with the auto.

Emissions for the diesel Astras are between 117 and 124g/km of CO2 (manual) and between 130 and 139g/km (auto). 

New Vauxhall Astra: prices

Astra hatchback

SE

1.2 110: £18,995

1.2 130: £19,185

1.4 145 auto: £20,875

1.5 105 diesel: £19,905

1.2 122 diesel: £20,330 (auto: £21,985)

Business Edition Nav

1.2 110: £19,585

1.2 130: £19,885

1.4 145 auto: £21,575

1.5 105 diesel: £20,605

1.5 122 diesel: £21,030 (auto: £22,690)

SRi

1.2 110: £21,895

1.2 130: £22,445

1.4 145 auto: £23,885

1.5 105 diesel: £22,915

1.5 122 diesel: £23,340 (auto: £25,000)

SRi Nav

1.2 110: £22,595

1.2 145: £23,145

1.4 145 auto: £24,585

1.5 105 diesel: £23,615

1.5 122 diesel: £24,040 (auto: 25,700)

SRi Nav VX Line

1.2 145: £24,195

1.4 145 auto: £25,635

1.2 122 diesel: £25,090 (auto: £26,745)

Elite Nav

1.2 145: £23,955

1.4 145 auto: £25,395

1.5 122 diesel: £24,850 (auto: £26,510)

Ultimate Nav

1.2 145: £26,755

1.4 145 auto: £28,195

1.5 122 diesel: £27,650 (auto: £29,310)

Astra Sport Tourer

SE

1.2 110: £20,355

1.5 105 diesel: £22,255

Business Edition Nav

1.2 130: £21,205

1.5 122 diesel: £24,060

SRi Nav

1.2 145: £24,615

1.4 145 auto: £26,035

1.5 122 diesel: £26,920