In a frank admission, the new managing director of Vauxhall has spelled out the challenges facing the British brand. "We have to produce cars that people want to buy," admitted Stephen Norman, who's moved from heading up the marketing division of PSA Peugeot Citroen to the managerial role at Vauxhall.
The brand, recently purchased by PSA Peugeot Citroen, has just posted its yearly sales figures. Reflecting a difficult year for Vauxhall, registrations fell by 22 per cent – a figure linked to the loss of 650 jobs from the brand's factory in Ellesmere Port.
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But the loss of production capacity is secondary to the lack of demand. "Before anything, we must improve the fortunes of the brand on the demand side. We have to produce cars that people will want to buy, then we will look at supply issues," Norman said.
Commenting on the possibility of further job cuts, Norman told press that the fate of Vauxhall's factories is linked to sales performance.
"If we manage to make a radical improvement in Vauxhall's fortunes in the UK and my future colleagues in Opel do the same to their markets, then there will be a requirement not only for every possible unit of production that we've got, but maybe more besides."
"Clearly, if we want things to go up, we have to stop them going down."
Those worried that future Vauxhalls will simply be rebadged Peugeot and Citroen models were offered reassurance, as Norman revealed plans to keep Vauxhall separate. "There is a clear understanding within the PSA Group that Vauxhall is a brand in its own right, as is Opel in Europe. Both brands have intrinsic value."