- 25 April 2016
- Author: Nikolas Perseputto
Vauxhall is one of the most successful car brands to be produced by the United Kingdom over the last two decades. The Bedfordshire, England – based company is affiliated with the German automobile company Adam Opel AG, which is an entirely owned subsidiary of the American car company General Motors. The company’s UK plants have the capacity of about 287,000 units combined, and it also has manufacturing plants located all throughout Europe, including Germany, Poland, and Spain. Roughly 80% of the units that Vauxhall produces are exported, and most of these units are sold under the Opel brand name.
Vauxhall was originally founded in Vaxuhall, London, England in 1857 by Scottish marine engineer Alexander Wilson. It initially went under the name of Alex Wilson and Company and Vauxhall Iron Works before making the switch to its current name in 1907, four years after its first car was built.
The company rose to prominence in 1908. Auto engineer Laurence Pomeroy designed the Y-Type, and it did not take all that long for the car to start turning heads because of its impressive speed and power. Vauxhall became synonymous with the growing UK automotive community, so much so that the British forces used their D-type model for staff cars during World War I. The company was acquired by General Motors in 1925, and began making vehicles that were similar in nature to GM’s Chevrolet line. This production was paused briefly during World War II so the company could construct Churchill tanks for the war effort.
After World War II ended, Vauxhall devoted a higher amount of energy to making models that were more mass market, a plan that gradually led to five-figure sales on its most popular vehicles. It is a strategy that remains intact to this day, which in turn has allowed it to produce some of the top-selling vehicles in Britain, despite the fact that its models did fall out of favor amongst Britons in the late ‘90s.
Vauxhall’s current flagship model is the Insignia, a large family car that the company has produced since 2008. It first hit the market as a replacement for the company’s Vectra and Signum models, and is known in the United States as the Buick Regal.
The Insignia comes in several different models, including the 5-door hatchback or the 4-door sedan, and the station wagon-like sports tourer. All of the models feature various hi-tech features such as an 8” touchscreen IntelliLink infotainment system and Bluetooth, digital radio, and USB ports. The engines that are featured in the car range from 1.4 Turbo to 2.0 SIDI Turbo, and they all come standard with a 6-speed manual gear box, although the 1.6 and 2.0 SIDI Turbo engines do have the option of being used with a 6-speed automatic.
The Insignia also comes with features such as Hill Start Assist and Hill Hold which make parking the vehicle on hilly or undulating terrain easier to accomplish.
Vauxhall currently makes 21 different cars for market, which are divided into three classes. In addition to the Insignia, the passenger cars that the company produces include the Adam (hatchback), the Ampera (hatchback), the Antara (SUV), the Astra (hatchback, 3-door hatchback, and estate), the Cascada (convertible), the Combo Tour (van), the Corsa (hatchback), the Meriva (MPV), the Mokka (SUV), the Viva (hatchback), the Zafira Family (MPV), and the Zafira Tourer (MPV). Cars that fall into the commercial vehicle class include the Corsavan, the Combo, the Movano, and the Vivaro. The company also produces four high-performance VXR models: the Astra VXR; the Corsa VXR; the Insignia VXR; and the VXR8 GTS.
As this range of models demonstrate, Vauxhall’s current line of production is suitable for any driver to consider, regardless of what his or her driving needs might happen to be.
The Vauxhaul Cadet was the first vehicle that was produced by the company after it was acquired by General Motors and was on the market from 1931 to 1933. The Cavalier was produced from 1975 until 1995, and was based on the company’s Opel Ascona and, eventually, the Open Vectra. The Chevette also launched in 1975, and was produced up until 1984. The company was also behind the production of the Carlton; a vehicle that was produced between 1978 and 1994 and was awarded European Car of the Year in 1987.
The production of Vauxhall’s Churchill tanks was not without hardship. The company’s Luton plant was hit during a bombing raid that took place in August of 1940; an incident that took the lives of 39 workers. And much like it was 100 years ago, Vauxhall’s vehicles remain popular with the powers that be; many police forces around the United Kingdom have adopted the company’s Astra line as their standard patrol car.