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Vauxhall ready to double blue light fleet capability

Date: 14 June 2007   |   Author:

Vauxhall is stepping up its blue light fleet potential after launching a new special vehicle operation, based at the GM-owned Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire.

The brand currently sells around 2500 specialist vehicles per year, ranging from Corsa superminis up to light commercial vehicles and including all GM brands, but that will now increase over the next three years to around 5000. The capacity could even grow to treble that number dependent only on demand according to fleet boss Maurice Howkins.

Millbrook was the winning tender from seven bids, replacing the previous outsourcing arrangement, and the launch event saw it play host to around 90 guests from across the blue light fleets.

Vauxhall is hoping to take the specialist vehicle market up a notch through a range of measures such as the ability to offer options on emergency service vehicles in the same 'tick-box' way as specifying a standard car, as well as offering the same warranty on modified vehicles as it would on the base model. "You'll be able to get a vehicle to your specification by ticking items on a checklist," said Carl Field, head of vehicle and track operations at Millbrook.

But it's the newly-developed 'bolt on-bolt off' way of fitting the specialist equipment needed by emergency service fleets that could make the biggest difference to Vauxhall's order bank. Field claims that the easier method of fitting new wiring, lights and other equipment will save 30-40% in decommissioning time at the end of the car's working life, as well as the residual value benefits of not having holes drilled out of the dashboard or bodywork. "The conversion has been designed from day one with decommissioning in mind," he said. "We drill holes only where necessary and use existing mounting points. All components are bolt on-bolt off."

The cars are adapted at what's a mini version of a main manufacturing plant at Millbrook, travelling down a small-scale production line.