Monday, June 01, 2009

It's not time to nationalise Vauxhall

Have just read this post over on Liberal Conspiracy by Dave Osler saying it is now time to nationalise Vauxhall. What an absolutely genius idea that would be... not. Why should the British taxpayer fund the propping up of a crappy car maker?

I've never really got the instinctive call for nationalising big companies. Not because I'm a rabid market fundamentalist - which admittedly I am - but rather why they never ask the question "why is this company failing?" before suggesting we nationalise it.

It seems the cry goes up that "we must to save jobs!". The problem is we're talking about saving jobs in order to produce rubbish cars that no one wants to buy and when they do they're rather embarrassed about it.

It's not even as if Vauxhall make original cars, let alone decent ones. Who would buy a Vauxhall when you could pay comparatively less and get a Honda or a Toyota. Why buy a pretend car that sucks when you can buy a proper one built by the Germans or Japanese?

The reason that Vauxhall shouldn't be nationalised is pretty clear. They make crap cars.


Anonymous said...

Actually, the irony is they don't. They may have once, but now they are all pretty good, well designed and well made! Problem is people think like you. Even Clarkson commented on top gear that every car in the vauxhall range was a decent good looking car.

dizzy said...

Bollocks are they. Compared to what you could buy for the same money from Japan or Germany they suck.

Rab C. Nesbitt said...

Let them sink. I don't care.

Sam Duncan said...

How? How are they going to nationalise a marketing exercise? The only car actually built by “Vauxhall” is the Astra. They want to run a car company off a single model?

Remember the last time the unions got involved in the fate of a car firm. The evil Alchemy Partners wanted to shut down mass-market production at MG/Rover and concentrate on building small numbers of MGs for the premium market at Longbridge. Boo, hiss! But, out of the blue rode the shining knights of the Phoenix Group, to the acclaim of unions and government alike. They would keep full production going. Hurrah!

And what is Longbridge doing now? Building small numbers of MGs for the premium market. (Under a Chinese firm; at least Alchemy was British.) You can't buck economic reality.

Anonymous said...

Not sure where you're taking this "German Cars are better" lark from. You are aware that almos all of these cars are actually designed and built in germany, right?

All Vauxhall is, is a rebranding exercise these days. There is not an original vauxhall car, they are all Opels. The UK factories, make pretty much only vans, primarily for europe LHD/RHD market.

You can hark on about your personal preferences the cars all you want but you really should get your facts straight.

dizzy said...

When referring to proper german cars I wasn't referring to Opel.

dizzy said...

And err telling me there is no original car by Vauxhall when I wrote that in the first post is a bit odd, no?

Alex said...

World capacity for car production is around 95m per yer. World demand for production is around 55m, so nearly half the productive capacity needs to go.

It isn't that any particular car is good or bad. They are all infinitely better than the cars of 20 years ago. There is just too much capacity.

McKenzie said...

WTF is a rabid market fundamentalist? Does it have anything to do with tax payers cash and bank bail outs? The reason why I ask is because the market clearly thinks the UK is a used condom which needs to be disposed of some time soon. Rabies seems a very apt analogy...slow and agonising death. Personally I think alzimmers would be a more appropriate description though, a complete withdrawal into one's own insane world of ultimate doom.

Anonymous said...

I just bought a Vauxhall, and it is certainly not crap. The Insignia is car of the bloody year for pity's sake. Sales figures for Vauxhall are still very strong as well.

Lola said...

Dizzy, old son, Vauxhall ARE German cars and they have been for years. Admittedly they are boring German cars, but German designed, engineered and specced they are. Vauxhalls are screwed together in the UK, or badges are screwed on Opels, but they are German. What's more Saabs are Vauxhall/Opel platforms with prettier bodies, sort of Vectras in party frocks.

Like all modern cars they are reliable and capable. They have good diesels and they ride and handle well. But they are - boring.

I totally agree that it is not worth saving Vauxhall as a brand, but I am led to believe that the UK GM factories are pretty efficeint and with Sterling low keeping them open makes economic sense to Opel/Vauxhall. But of course Merkel won't see it that way. She'll buy German Jobs with her, sorry our EU, money and they'll close the UK factories.

Lola said...

...oh and the Vectra is better to drive than the current equivalent Toyota, the Avensis. It's still boring tho'.

Anonymous said...

Only a moron would propose natonalising Vauxhall. Fiat has recognised that you need to produce 5 million cars per annum to be economic.

Even if it had the capability to design its own cars (it doesn't), Vauxhall has no capacity to sell its cars overseas.

jd said...

Vauxhall not crap? Well, to the extent that very few car brands are subject to the individual weaknesses that almost became cliche brand hallmarks in the 70s, (eg Vauxhall reliability, Fiat rust, etc) no they're not.

But they're not great either. Check out the Reliability Index top 100 and most Vauxhalls are clustered in the bottom half.

Added to which aethestically, well, purleese.... the interiors are just nasty, dated and cheap, belonging in a much cheaper car.

If you want reliability, buy Japanese. If you want to buy British, get a Caterham or a Morgan and have some fun.

Joyce Hiveld said...

Is there anything built by Vauxhall which hasn't come out of Opel?

Old Holborn said...

German or Japanese. Simple as that.

I have owned Renaults, Citroens, Vauxhalls, Lancias and Fords. All complete and utter shite. They break down, they rust, fall apart and are worn out in 5 years. All of them cost me a fortune just to keep running day to day.

BMW, Audi, Porsche, VW, Toyota, Skoda, Honda, Mazda, Mercedes.

Take your pick and look forward to 15 years of trouble free motoring

Not built by Scouse monkeys daydreaming about football or winning the Lottery all day.

Anonymous said...

'Vauxhall' is not a car company - it is just a factory, one of several producing cars for GM Europe. All the design and marketing and well everything is done in Germany.

There is nothing to 'nationalise' except a production facility.

Nigel Allery said...

Dizzy. Don't let the facts get in the way of a good rant - you are way off beam on this one.

I've never owned a Vauxhall, I have researched them when buying other products and I know they make great value for money cars. Yes the Germans make amazing cars, but you pay a whole lot more for them.

Suggest you go and drive an Insignia, then a BMW 5, then tell us which one you'd put your money into.

Just cos they make good cars will not make it viable as a multinational, but I wouldn't mind betting it has a very good chance.

Houdini said...

It's not often Dizzy, but with this post you are talking through your arse.

Vauxhall makes some of the best cars, and especially Ellesmere Port that is one of the most profitable car operations in Europe, and they make the high end Opels because the Germans you seem to like aren't up to it, well, not unless they throw money at them like BMW and Merc overpriced shite.

I agree we shouldn't try and save it, but not for the crap reasons you give.

William said...

Let them go under!

Get rid of Red Robbo NOW!

Mark M said...


I feel you're missing a trick arguing about whether Vauxhall cars are crap. If commenters say they are not, then fair enough. The question of "why are they going out of business?" is still valid.

If it's not the quality of cars, then what? And how will nationalising them help?

Anonymous said...

Crap or not they're not selling.

A quote on another site said, "No one goes to bed dreaming of owning a Vauxhall."

The problem with the Gov taking over any company is that it usually works out more expensive than closing the factory and keeping paying the worker their wages out of the public purse.

If Vauxhall is a profitable company or a potentially profitable company they'll get bought up, that is what has happened with many company closures in this recession. 'Good' companies are going bust due to cashflow problems and are bought up within a day or two by someone with liquid assets.

We need some moves to get profitable manufacturing back on it's feet in this country.

Lola said...

Old Holborn. Totally disagree about Ford. I have had several and they've all run like trains (German or Swiss Trains not British Rail!) and have not at all gone wrong and required only the regular service and fuel. In fact Dughter No. 2 runs the ex Dad Mondeo Estate 160,000 plus miles and still on same clutch. Dr No. 1 runs ex Daughter 2's Escort on 90 odd 000 miles and ditto. Both have fully function accessories. can't fault 'em.