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With the recent news of GM europe being taken over by Magna, and the subsequent announcement regarding job losses in the UK, I would not be surprised if the Vauxhall brand disappears altogether. In fact I’m sure that in due course current Vauxhall operations will be rebranded as Opel.

Given the support that German operations are receiving from their Government and the apparent lack of support Vauxhall is getting from ours suggests that any moves that new owners make to cut costs across the company would have a positive bias towards Germany / Opel.

My understanding is that much of the company’s product development is done centrally, with Vauxhall (and presumably each of Opel’s regional operations) doing things such as handling adjustments and marketing. Therefore it could be argued that a Opel UK would in effect have a similar role, however I can’t help thinking that the new owners without, perhaps the sentimental attachment to the British brand will consider Vauxhall an unnecessary extra expense. And I can certainly see the argument from a marketing perspective, as a a change to Opel would fit with the new image they are clearly striving for with the Insignia and new Astra.

My suggestion to the company would be to market both brands simultaneously across europe, each with separate brand identity and values, for example as MGRover did. Although perhaps this is not the best example I believe this is a model that could be successful for GM europe.

Coming back to the reality of a belt tightening era, I hope that I am wrong in prediction. Maybe Vauxhall does not present any greater cost implications than an Opel operation, but I can’t help thinking that Vauxhall’s days maybe numbered.

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I just heard sirens outside, and looked out to see a Fiesta come tearing down my road, only just making it round the corner outside my house, closely followed by the Police. They disapeared out of sight but the sirens were still close by. The force helicopter is flying around now so I’m guessing they’ve jumped out somewhere. Having lost a Fiesta to joy riders a few years back I can’t help rooting for the police.

However I am slightly worried that watching too many episodes of “Road Wars”, and “Police, Stop, Camera, Action, Woah, He’s Crashed, He’s Crashed” might have made me slightly to excited about seeing a car chase come past my house.

I have just received an update email from PetrolPrices.com and noticed that it is nolonger possible to buy petrol in Ipswich for less that £1 per litre. For a while now a few staitions have remained at 99.9p, but the last have now slipped over the edge.

I don’t really have anything else to say about this at the moment. Other than if you drive, make sure you visit PetrolPrices.com and sign up for their email bulletins to get a regular email listing the five cheapest petrol stations in your area. (It might not sound much, but at the least it could save you 40-60p per fill up, and looking at the highest price in the area, could save you up to £2.50 per fill up. Obviously depending on the size of your car’s fuel tank.)

This week I have been getting increasingly excited by the prospect of snow. Resuming my regular checking of various weather and news websites, like a young child running to the window to see if it has started. And yet I know, that just as WordPress turn off the snow on my blog, I will once again have my hopes dashed and will be denied snow once again. Why do I let myself get excited by it?

Other points of note today

Having recently, on a few occasions, driven into London, I have noted a few rules about driving in the capital.

  1. Don’t assume that just because its 11 o’clock at night it is a good idea to drive into Congestion Charging zone. It’s not.
  2. Drive a car that is…
    …big enough to make other drivers get out of your way, with a few previous battle scars so that you won’t mind when someone hits you
    …small enough to squeeze through any gaps in the traffic
    …fast enough to beat the BMW that inevitably tries to race you away from the lights.
  3. Pedestrians will walk out in front of you, especially at night, and it’s your fault if you hit them.
  4. Don’t wait for someone to let you out of a junction, drive into the middle of the road and make the other drivers wait for you.

I was wondering the other day how many different cars I have driven…

  • Austin Rover Metro (’87 D)*
  • Chrysler Voyager (?? ??)
  • Citroen AX (? ?)
  • Fiat Marea Weekend (’98 R)†
  • Ford Escort MKII (’80 V)
  • Ford Escort (’00 x)
  • Ford Fiesta Ghia(’89 G)*
  • Ford Focus (? 51)
  • Honda Civic (’06 56)†
  • Land Rover Defender 90 [off-road only] (? ?)
  • Mazda2 Sport [off-road only] (? ?)
  • Mazda 323 (? E)
  • Mazda MX5 [off-road only] (? ?)
  • Mitsubishi L200 Warrior (?? 53)
  • Mitsubishi L200 Trojan (06 06)
  • Nissan Micra (’88 E)
  • Peugeot 807 (?? ??)
  • Renault Clio (’98 R)
  • Renault Scenic Sport Alize (’99 V)
  • Renault Scenic (’08? 57)^
  • Rover 75 (’04 04)^
  • Skoda Fabia (? ?)
  • Vauxhall Astra LS (’92 J)*
  • Vauxhall Astra SXI (’08? 57)^
  • Vauxhall Astra Club (’05 05)*
  • Vauxhall Corsa Life (’02 52)*
  • Vauxhall Corsa SXI (’06 56)^
  • Vauxhall Vectra LS (’99 T)*
  • Vauxhall Vectra SXI (’08 08)^
  • Vauxhall Zafira (’06 55)^

Plus

  • Ford Escort Van (? P)
  • Ford Transit 85 T280 SWB MR (’06 06)^
  • Vauxhall Viviro (? ?)^
  • Vauxhall Viviro (’08 08)^
  • Volkswagen Transporter, T28 102ps (07 56)^
* Main car for a period
^ Hire car/van
† Test Drive
[Updated 26/05/07, 14/05/07, 03/11/07, 05/11/07, 18/05/08, 09/06/08, 24/08/08, 27/11/08, 19/12/08, 22/09/09, 29/11/09, 29/08/10]

Thanks to the Evening Star I found out this week that Ipswich is officially a happier place than Norwich and Colchester and Chelmsford. Its not exactly news that Ipswich is the better place to live, but thanks for reminding us anyway, read a summary of the story here.

Also just noticed…

  • …that Akismet has now stopped over 1,000 spam comments on this blog, thank you WordPress!
  • …there are some new Get a Mac ads on the UK Apple site.

Finally, I had a drive in the new Honda Civic today, I might write about it at some point.