Blog: Simon WarburtonVauxhall gets ball rolling with England

Simon Warburton | 11 January 2011

Off to GM's Volt plant this morning with a tour of the Hamtramck facility near Detroit, although a fairly hefty snow dump is forecast.

I say hefty, but Detroit television stations are predicting up to 5" - enough to paralyse the UK for days - but a fall here that is just met with a shrug of the shoulders.

Opel CEO Nick Reilly hosted a dinner last night in in downtown Detroit - enlivened by a vast American train hooting its way just feet from the event - and was on good form. He mentioned when the restructuring took place last year, he toured several European plants to explain the decision - in a 20min speech in German. Not bad for a Brit.

And Reilly's UK partner Vauxhall also announced this morning it was to sponsor the England football team.

Brave move. We English crashed out of last year's World Cup beano in South Africa - to the Germans - don't remind me - and spectacularly garnered only one measly vote apart from our own representative at the recent 'event' to decide the 2018 tournament.

Vauxhall will take over from former sponsors Nationwide, who it's fair to say, did a pretty good job and the fit with the car biz seems pretty apt too.

Cars and football - it's not too difficult to see what sort of audience Vauxhall could be aiming at in its 3.5 year deal that industry speculation hints could see a sponsorship figure of around GBP100m pouring into the FA coffers.

There's a chance Vauxhall might be talking to just-auto in Detroit about the deal from the UK later, so fingers crossed.

You wouldn't really know that anything was happening in the UK from American TV, apart from one event. The networks are going nuts about the forthcoming Royal wedding and are devoting acres of airtime to the nuptials, gossiping about who's on - and off - the knees-up event in the evening.

Time for some sanity and to head to the Volt plant.


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