Following a lack of demand in the UK and the European car market, Vauxhall have been forced to reduce the number of working days at their Ellesmere plant to just four. Although the number of days has been cut, the number of working hours is still expected to stand at 38 per week.
General Motors are attempting to make major savings throughout their operations in Europe. There have been serious calls regarding the closure of the factory altogether. The UK Government, in particular Vince Cable, played a significant role in helping the factory to stay open.
He met with General Motors executives face to face on more than one occasion. The Unite Trade Union also played a major role in keeping the factory open.
Currently the General Motors owned company are suffering major losses in Europe for the last 12 years. There are currently 2,000 workers working at the Cheshire plant. Losses have reached the billions mark and are not acceptable by anyone’s standards.
In September the plant closed for one week, with workers still being paid. There was not enough demand to justify so many cars being produced. The state of the Euro Zone crisis is adding more unwanted pressure to Vauxhall.
The recent announcement of a four day week means that the factory will not only reduce the amount of unnecessary vehicles being produced, but will also allow energy costs from the factory to be saved. An official announcement read “Vauxhall has concluded a new operating agreement at its Ellesmere Port plant which condenses a five-day working week into four days with subsequent savings in utility costs,”
Four day weeks at the Vauxhall Ellesmere plant will allow more time for the installation of equipment. The factory was chosen as the place for the new generation Vauxhall Astra to be built. This project in particular helped secure the future of the plant, helping its future to be secured.
One worker was reported to have stated that the cut down in days is a cause for concern. The market has died down a great deal in Europe for new cars. A peak in 2007 saw 16.8 million cars delivered but that number has fallen to 13.6 million with mass car producers feeling the pain.
What else will happen to the Vauxhall Ellesmere plant in the upcoming months?
For the first time in the company’s 110 year history, a Chief has been named to handle Cadillac’s global affairs.
They have never ventured outside of the United States in a serious fashion but earlier this year, General Motors bosses decided that reaching out globally is a worthy strategy.
Robert Ferguson has been given the responsibilities of worldwide marketing, brand management and advertising for Cadillac. He will report to Dan Akerson, Chief Executive of General Motors. Mr played a major role in helping to defend the controversy of the Chevrolet Volt battery problems.
Cadillac’s sales were once prospering in the United States, beating the likes of Mercedes and BMW. Now sales have dipped into a deep decline, with sales falling a huge 8.6 per cent this year compared to January to September 2011. The company have managed to sell 103,500 so far this year for the first 9 months.
From January to June, the company managed to sell 350 vehicles in Europe. That figure is 10 per cent down from 2011 when comparing the same period.
General Motors will be looking to their Chinese partners of SAIC to help bump up sales of their luxury brand in the world’s largest car market. There are expected more dealerships around China as well more in Russia. There could be triple the amount of showrooms across China with the total amounting to 210 over the next 12 months. Currently that figure stands at just 70. Russia is currently one of the best emerging car markets in the whole world. The market is being particularly kind to General Motors at present.
Mr Ferguson’s initial seems simple, pump in more money into international marketing and resources. He also mentioned that the company currently have three vehicles ready for export, the XTS, the ATS and the SRX.
Mr Ferguson has been thrown in right at the deep end. He must decide whether the company must build a new flagship sedan. If developed, it would be larger than the Cadillac XTS. He said “We are giving it serious consideration although we are not close on an actual model. There are a lot of creative ideas being discussed and we have seen some great designs on the sketch pad.”
It is no surprise that the Chevrolet Sail hatchback is to be released in India but General Motors have announced that they are putting plenty of weight on the car’s shoulders. Together with their Indian automotive partners, The AIC (Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation) believes that the car will be the number one selling car in the country. The Sail is expected to be the company’s number 1.
The small car segment is the most popular market within India and the Sail fits right in. Their ambitions for the car are quite ambitious considering that they are still struggling with sales 16 years after entering the country.
General Motors announced that the release of the Sail is imminent, with the car likely to be in showrooms by the end of this month or next month. The saloon version of the car will arrive at some point in December it is believed. Together with the hatchback and saloon, General Motors want the combined sales to become their bestselling vehicle. The Chevrolet Enjoy is expected to be released in December too.
The car will be localised 50 per cent India which will help to drive down prices. The price of a car is extremely important in the Indian car market in order to convince the target market to make purchase. Pricing is one of the most important factors. General Motors hope that 65 per cent of the car will be localised by next year. Currently its transmission is important from Austria. Exporting the vehicle from India is an option which has been openly discussed, with Board Members not ruling it out.
The vehicle is also manufactured in China too and sold throughout the Middle Eastern and North African region.
Although General Motors have not quite reached the level that they may have originally hoped for in emerging countries, their Chevrolet Beat model is selling quite well, selling 4,539 in September this year alone.
The Chevrolet Sail will come with a 1.3 litre diesel engine along with a 1 different variant alongside a 1.2 petrol engine. The new Chevrolet Enjoy comes with two fuel options of a 1.3 litre diesel engine on top of a 1.4 litre petrol engine.
We mentioned the Vauxhall Mokka a few weeks ago but the car has finally arrived, starting from £15,995.
The 1.7 litre CDTi looks like shaking up the whole segment. Its fiercely competitive price and its wonderful features help to put across a car that is quite desirable.
The car’s unique shape makes it look slightly chunky but aggressive. The front has an excellent wide grille and huge headlights, emphasising its large size. The wheelarches are pretty big but are filled with 17 inch alloy wheels.
There is not much to shout about when it comes to the cars interior. The Vauxhall Mokka’s detailing is not of the highest quality and the material looks quite cheap. The layout of the buttons means that it is not the easiest thing in the world to find the right function to select.
The best attribute about the inside is that is has quite a lot of room for the driver and passengers, making it a decent family car. The rear can easily fit three adults with a great deal of headroom and legroom. The car’s boot space measures at a huge 1,372 litres. That leaves enough room for shopping and extras.
he 1.7 litre diesel front wheel drive version is expected to be the main choice for UK buyers. The 4×4 petrol editions are not as fast and is also naturally less efficient. The diesel reaches more than 60 MPG according to Vauxhall and is also faster than its petrol counterpart. The 1.4 litre turbocharged petrol engine reaches 138 BHP but is not the best suited engine for the car in anyway. Acceleration is largely sluggish and the car doesn’t move very fast.
The Vauxhall Mokka’s steering is poor and quite weighty. The feedback and response is not as good as you may expect either. The suspension is quite firm but everyone within will feel the bumps over uneven road surfaces. The car’s economy reaches 149g/km of C02 along with 44.8 MPG, pretty good readings by anyone’s standards.
How well will the Vauxhall Mokka perform in the UK market? How will the car fare against the strong rivals of the Skoda Yeti, the Nissan Juke and the Kia Sportage?
General Motors will announce that they are set to create 2,000 jobs in Michigan. 1,500 of those will be at the brand new information technology innovation centre, recently built in Warren. The placements of the remaining 500 jobs are yet to be officially announced.
General Motors are set to announce three new separate projects with the innovation centre coming under one of them. The company will invest a total of $300 million for all three of them it is understood.
Those 1,500 jobs mentioned earlier will be taken on over a course of the next four years. General Motors want college graduates to take up 30 per cent of that number. This is great news for graduates who are struggling to find jobs after their studies have finished. Attracting younger workers is a major part of the company’s philosophy within this particular new project.
Most of General Motors information technology projects are being handled by 1,500 across the world, which accounts for just 10 per cent. The other 90 per cent is outsourced to the remaining 10,000. The company hope to reverse these figures with them keeping more projects in house.
These new IT jobs have already been advertised on the General Motors website. The fact that the world’s largest car company are focusing heavily on Information Technology shows that they are becoming more and more strategic car technology.
Currently General Motors has 23 data centres worldwide. Part of the company’s new strategy is to reduce that figure to just two which will be located in Michigan.
The company is spending $130 million on a data centre placed within the Warren Tech Centre. This will be home to several house data services and laboratories. Last year in May, the company received a $10 million state tax incentive. With this tax incentive, the aim was to redevelop 30 acres across Warren Tech Center for the new data centre. This is expected to create approximately 25 jobs.
The news today represents quite a bit of contrast compared to earlier this year when General Motors announced that they would close a factory. The Canadian factory took 1,500 jobs with it following a lack of demand within the country.
How will General Motors newly created 2,000 jobs affect their battle to stay as the number one car brand in the world?
The Chevrolet Volt is the current leader in its specific category in the United States, being the best selling rechargeable car in the United States. Throughout the year Chevrolet has been facing competition from the Toyota Prius and the Nissan Leaf.
September sales saw a sudden surge of more technologically advanced economical vehicles. Those that work with battery packs and petrol engines and pure electric cars have almost tripled in sales when compared to September 2011. Last year saw 11,094 being sold in September whereas this year saw 31,400 being sold.
September saw the Chevrolet Volt hit a new sales record for a single month, hitting 2,851 units alone. For the year the car has now sold 16,348 in total which is four times the amount when compared to the same time period last year. The Toyota Prius has sold 7,734 so far this year and the Nissan Leaf has sold 5,212.
Previously the Toyota Prius had been the undoubted leader for a number of years but it would appear that the target market want something new. Lease deals for the vehicle, which is currently $299 a month with the car being worth $39,145 is helping to increase its popularity. Those leasing deals represent a very good value for money. The amount of fuel that is saved easily outweighs the expenses. Nissan have followed suite and have too offered low priced leases for their electric Leaf model.
After months of negativity surrounding the Chevrolet Volt, it is good to see a vehicle which has great technical prowess succeed. There were concerns at first that the car was beyond its years. It is so technologically advanced that the car may have overwhelmed their customers to begin with. Production of the vehicle had to be stopped with demand not meeting the amount that was developed in the factory.
Chevrolet originally hoped for 60,000 sales this year. That figure has been reduced to 40,000 including exports.
The Chevrolet Volt has added some healthy competition to the American car market. The Toyota Prius has been the dominant hybrid vehicle for a number of years. Although the company are not quite meeting the originally expected targets, Chevrolet is progressing well. The Vauxhall Ampera, the 2012 car of the year is the UK version and is available to buy now.
General Motors top selling vehicle in the United States for September was the Chevrolet Cruze. It fell just short of setting a brand new record. Altogether sales of the car had increased by 43 per cent, selling 25,787 in September alone, meaning there were 7,700 more units sold compared to last month.
Don Johnson, the Vice President of Chevrolet Sales said that the recent success of the vehicle was down to the excellent efficiency that the car offers. He said “The Cruze came very close to setting a new record. It really goes to the strength of the entire car portfolio right now. There’s just a continued good value story with the Cruze’s great design and great fuel efficiency.” Fuel prices are still on the rise on America and motorists are reacting to that. Efficiency seems to be the car’s main weapon.
The original sales record came in August when 25,975 sales were made, turning that into an all time record. The Chevrolet Cruze was the best selling passenger car but the Siverado pickup truck managed to beat it in terms of sales, selling a total of 36,425. That was however disappointing for General Motors in the scheme of things, with sales down by 17 per cent from September 2011, when the company managed to sell 43,698. This was put down to rental companies weakening the demand according to General Motors.
From January to September 2012, General Motors sales have increased by 1.5 per cent when comparing the same period the year before.
Rivals for the worldwide leader board, Toyota and Volkswagen have made much better progress in terms of growth. Toyota growth from January to September grew by 42 per cent whereas Volkswagen’s sales increased by 34 per cent. Chrysler’s sales have increased by 12 percent with Japan’s sales falling by 1.1 per cent. Honda’s sales have fallen by 1.1 per cent.
Experts believe that customers are gaining more confidence in the new car market as banks are now offering more loans. Auto makers are also coming out with more and more fuel efficient models. Sales overall in America have hit a figure of 1.1 million which represents an 11 per cent increase from September 2011. Experts have stated that the total figure for 2012 could reach 14.5 million. If that is true, the Chevrolet Cruze will play a big part in doing so.
Neither models are the most popular in the UK but both Chevrolet and Skoda have been on the offensive to bring both to people’s attention.
Chevrolet is one of the best performing car brands in America, playing a pivotal role in helping General Motors become the world’s number one. They are nowhere that standard here in the UK and throughout the rest of Europe. One of their best sellers throughout the world, theCruze is one of their best weapons on the market.
It was first seen here in as a Saloon model. This was marketed as a great value for money vehicle, containing some handy features. This failed to take the market despite its value. The family car market just seemingly wanted more. Chevrolet responded by released a five door hatchback. More importantly a diesel engine was added to the line-up, giving the model a more efficient type of option. This 1.7 litre VCDi is able to produce an almighty 128 BHP. At the same time it is good on emissions and fuel economy too. Overall it is a good all rounder, being powerful and efficient at the same time.
Whilst driving along, it’s quite easy to see just how smooth the engine really is. It is definitely the car’s most attractive feature. The engine power is where the Chevrolet Cruze has the upper hand on the Skoda Octavia.
At the top level, the LTZ trim upon the Cruze offers a fantastic deal. The standard kit is at a very satisfactory level itself but many may be tempted to opt for the greater level of equipment.
Practicality wise, the Skoda Octavia is the better car in terms of boot space. The car is a no nonsense spacious family car which will deliver everything you need. It’s efficient, roomy and comfortable with a sustainable interior.
The brand new generation Skoda Octavia is due for release. It will be shown off at the Geneva Motor Show in 2013. The car will hit showrooms later in the summer of that year. An estate along with a hatchback will be shown off at the event. Like Chevrolet with their Cruze, Skoda is depending on their Octavia model to help boost sales and improve the reputation of the company.
The Vauxhall Adam is all set for an appearance at the Paris Motor Show. It’s a brand new city car which will cost a quite modest £11,255. If you like the look of it already, the car is ready to order now.
It’s a three door car with four seats. If you to upgrade from the entry level model, the Glam trim will cost £12,650 and the Slam model will cost £13,150.
What’s special about this car is that there are apparently more than a million different combinations available. Firstly there are 12 exterior colours available to choose from. The colour names have been influenced by famous films and songs. They include “Purple Fiction”, “James Blonde”, “Papa don’t Peach” and “Saturday White Fever”. The interior of the car will come with more than 12 different colour choices and the wheels will have 20 different combinations to choose from. On top of that styling packs can be added to the car to create a two tone effect within the interior and exterior. The roof can have three different colours, “I’ll Be Black”, “White my Fire” or “Men in Brown”. If you want the car to be customised further in terms of the paint choices, the exterior and the interior can have stripes too.
That’s not all, the interior has plenty of room for personal customisation too. The panels on the inside have the same colour choices as the 12 exterior colours. If you are not happy with the choice, they are able to be replaced if needed. You can set the mood within the car with seven different lighting choices available.
The Vauxhall Adam’s strongest point is possibly it’s infotainment system. This has the capability of connecting to both Android and Apple devices. Apps can be displayed on a full colour screen in the centre display and utilised. Connecting to smart phone is certainly the way forward when it comes to in car technology. This IntelliLink feature could hold the edge when it comes to outselling rivals.
On top of that DAB Radio is standard. If you struggle to park, even in the smaller type of cars, a Park Assist II system is available as an option.
Drivetrain wise the car will come with 1.2 litre engine which is capable of producing either 69 BHP or 86 BHP. A 1.4 litre capable of producing 99 BHP is also available with a direct injection three cylinder 1.0 litre engine being made available later.
How well will the Vauxhall Adam sell here in the UK?
The 2013 Chevrolet Trax is a car that you may not have heard of yet, but it will be released here in the UK next year in the Spring time. It will rival the Nissan Juke, a car which has been relatively successful despite some initial doubts. Chevrolet does not have much of a presence here in the UK but will hope to change that with the new Trax model.
The car has an all round attractiveness, being stylish, practical and containing a great drive. One car you may have heard of here in the UK Captiva SUV, a typically large American vehicle. This vehicle is perhaps not suited to the local market here, which has contributed to a poor sales return.
It is for that reason that Chevrolet will be hoping that the vehicle will rival the Nissan Juke and give reason for the company trading here in the UK. So how does the car compare to it’s main rival, the Nissan Juke? The car is first of all larger with no oddly shape rear end. In that sense it is already a more practical vehicle. Luggage capacity for the Nissan Juke stands at 830 litres.
The Trax beats that figure considerably, containing a massive 1,372 litres worth of luggage capacity. Vauxhall and Chevrolet are owned by the same company, General Motors. The Vauxhall Mokka has been used as great inspiration for the Trax. Both contain a very similar features and overall shape.
The Chevrolet Trax has a quite large front grill length wise and bigger wheel arches, making the vehicle look more aggressive and American, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The similarities do not just end outside the vehicle. Inside the car comes the same centre console in terms of shape.
The driver gets a perfect driving position, sitting high with a clear view ahead. Engine wise, there will three made available with this model here in the UK. These include a 1.6 petrol capable of producing 114 BHP. A 1.4 petrol turbo and a 1.7 litre turbo diesel also join the line up. Not too much is known about the vehicles yet in terms of performance and economy. The 1.4 litre turbo version is said to reach 0 – 62 MPH in around 9 seconds and is able to return 44.8 MPG, respectable returns considering the vehicle type. Will the Chevrolet Trax help the company’s reputation here in the UK?
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