VAUXHALL will be building cars for Middle England – British but without the flag-waving says new chief Tim Tozer.
The chairman and managing director of Vauxhall Motors and CEO of Opel Ireland told Business Car Manager that creating the Vauxhall brand story tops his list of priorities.
Tozer admitted Vauxhall had made some serious errors in branding in the past and that simplifying its offer is the key to driving the brand forward.
He said: “We are a generalist not a premium car brand. In my interview for the role I asked the leading question about where the brand stood and if I had heard the word ‘premium’ I would have been deeply sceptical.”
Yet he was also quick to quell any ambitions to overtake Ford as the UK’s top selling brand as was the stated desire of his predecessor, Duncan Aldred who is now US vice-president of Buick-GMC sales, service and marketing.
“I don’t underestimate Ford in the slightest and so I don’t think it’s a great idea to say we’re going to outsell Ford particularly because I don’t believe in putting aspirations and dreams into the public domain as stated objectives.
“Do I think we can give Ford a bloody good run for their money, yes, absolutely we can, particularly with the three small cars we will have next year, the Adam, the new city car and the Corsa, playing to slightly different audiences in the A-B market.
“Do I want to go berserk to sacrifice myself on the altar of market share? Absolutely not.”
He said growth in the user-chooser company car buyer sector is also a main ambition for Vauxhall.
“Our share of retail is growing and is now at 9.5% and we expect more true-fleet, which is fleet not Motability, rental or very large autocratic fleet purchases, and more dealers queuing up for franchises. This will lead to more profit.
“At the moment we have a market share of about 35% in the fleets where staff have no choice of vehicle but only 5% among those smaller fleets with user-choosers. We want to increase that figure by getting the Vauxhall story across to those user-choosers.”