Blog: Dave LeggettGM Europe's fact and fiction

Dave Leggett | 16 March 2009

I watched an episode of Top Gear on telly last night - not sure if it was an old one on channel 'Dave' or a current one on the Beeb, or something on BBC12; they're everywhere - and someone posed an interesting question: which manufacturer does not have a 'minger' (ie ugly, nasty thing) of a design in its range? Alfa was ruled out because although it has many beautifully sculpted cars, there's also the MiTo - not so sure about that one being a minger myself, but it's maybe not as easy on the eye as some of the others.

Anyway, which manufacturer did Jeremy Clarkson say gets his vote? None other than....Vauxhall!

Well, that is perhaps just a tad rich given his history of mercilessly slagging the Vectra, sometimes in a pretty gratuitous way. I know for a fact that he got under the skin of many at the home of the Luton Griff as a result. But Jezza pointed out - quite rightly - that its replacement, the Insignia, is undeniably a looker and that there's nothing actually aesthetically offensive either about the other cars in the Vauxhall/Opel line-up.

And in Europe Vauxhall/Opel (a bit like the old 'rump Yugoslavia', it's rump GM Europe, soon to be minus Saab and with a sprinkling of Caddy and Chevrolet) isn't a badly run company in my view. It has some very good product and has been reducing its cost base steadily over a number of years. It's in a viciously tough market, made even tougher by the recession, but it's not a company that is badly run or without hope. Like many others, it needs to ride the recession and slim down a little bit more than it would ideally like.

But it is good to see people in there not giving up. The dealers certainly are not giving up. And neither are the PR people, judging by this latest initiative aimed at trying to get the basic facts across and avoid misreporting. Good effort. And Carl-Peter Forster's corporate blog, as I have mentioned before, is often a very good read.

GERMANY: Opel dealers plan fund for stake

GM Europe Facts and Fiction

Carl-Peter Forster's blog


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