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Credit where credit due… There is a pothole in the road outside our house which has been growing over the last few months. On Monday I decided to tell the council. I did a quick Google and found an online form to report road defects and quickly filled it in. Within 24 hours there was  paint on the road, marking the area that needs to be fixed. Impressed how quickly they reacted. Let’s see how long before the fix it.

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.

According to the Evening Star, a local estate agent has been fined £7,500 (plus £3,275 costs) for putting up fake ‘Sold’ signs.

A few years ago I was doing some work connected to a new estate agent and suggested that they put up a few sold signs in friends gardens to get their company name know. At the time it seemed a like a legitimate marketing strategy, but on reflection it is probably good that they did not listen to me after all.

Evening Star – Estate agent ‘put up fake sold signs’

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.)

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.

I was taught that building houses on old commercial land was a great way to to solve the shortage of housing without using up the countryside. Typical recent examples of this include some of land near the docks (in Ipswich) and an area of land off Woodbridge Road (as reported recently in the Evening Star). But what never seems to be reported is the new commercial building that takes place on greenfield sites in order to free up the brownfields.

In order for some of the new flats to be built on the old Holden Timber yard, they moved to a new premises on what appears to previously have been farmland (Masterlord Office Village). The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) have also just opened a new Driving Test Centre, presumably freeing up their old site for housing, however the new centre is built in the same area. I can see some commercial benefits of Holden’s move but the DSA’s must surely be all about money as their old site, being closer to town, must be worth more. Surely the benefit of building houses on old industrial land is outweighed if business and government departments have to move and build new premises in order to free up the land.

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