Motor vehicle marque
of General Motors
division, or more strictly
speaking, the UK part of Opel
, which itself is the Europe
an trading name of
GM. Vauxhall build and sell almost identical models of car
to those sold
in Europe by Opel, although the names sometimes differ.
For example, a Vauxhall Astra is equivalent to an Opel Kadet, although
there has been a move recently to consolidate
car model names across the
Vauxhall's main plants are at Luton, Bedfordshire and Ellesmere Port on
Merseyside: the Luton plant is where the company's headquarters are,
and is the one where car manufacture takes place. Ellesmere Port is used
for component manufacture as well as importing products from Europe.
Vauxhall Motors was founded in England in 1903 and quickly became allied
with the German firm Opel which was a few years older. In 1925 the US
General Motors company, looking to expand into the European car market,
acquired Vauxhall and Opel but allowed them to retain their distinct
identities. This was a wise move, as after the Second World War when
car ownership started to become much more widespread, it became rapidly
apparent that European consumers looked for very different qualities in
their cars compared to their north American counterparts. This differentiation
became even more noticeable in the 1970s following the oil crises
of the early part of that decade.
What this all means is that despite the fact that Vauxhall is owned by GM
it doesn't produce much that an American would recognise as any kind of
General Motors car. The Vauxhall Cavalier is similar to Chevrolet's car
of the same name but there a number of differences, not least in the
marketing. A Chevvy Cavalier is officially a "small car" in the US (at
least according to Chevrolet's website) whereas the Vauxhall car with the
same name and of the same size is a medium-sized "family car" in Britain.