Bill Parfitt has postponed his retirement and been named chairman of General Motors UK, the automaker said on Wednesday.

The move follows Duncan Aldred's recent appointment as Vauxhall managing director. Aldred will manage all Vauxhall's operational activities and performance with a focus on sales, marketing and aftersales.

"Parfitt's strategic role will be to prepare the UK business for future growth," the firm said in a statement. "These appointments strengthen the Vauxhall brand and reaffirm GM's commitment to the UK as a leading global market."

GM Europe president Nick Reilly, a former Vauxhall MD who who is also now head of Opel and Vauxhall, welcomed the appointments.

"At this critical time of restructuring our European operation, Vauxhall stands out with a brand strength and loyal customer base that can continue to grow and strengthen. With Bill's strategic vision and a strong operational grip from Duncan, together they will drive the growth of the Vauxhall brand in the UK."

The UK market accounts for over 20% of GM's sales in Europe.  It is also GM's fourth largest global market.

The recently redesigned Astra will be the first new model launched following the new managerial appointments.