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Vauxhall on the way to changing perceptions

Date: 26 June 2013   |   Author: Jack Carfrae

Vauxhall is on-track with its long-term plan to change the perception of the brand, according to managing director Duncan Aldred.

He said he felt people see Vauxhall's range from "yesterday" rather than the current line-up, and that new products - such as the Ampera range-extender, Cascada convertible and Adam city car - as well as the first-owner 100,000-mile warranty, three-day test drive programme and sponsorship of the home nations football teams, all help to increase the firm's desirability without changing the line-up's pricing.

"Brand perception change is very challenging - you build a brand over decades not single years," said Aldred.

"Our strength is availability, value for money, Britishness and trust built over 110 years, and others like the Koreans are desperate to get there.

Now we've got to push and get people to reappraise our cars.

"We want to stretch the brand so people are very proud and happy to own and consider buying a Vauxhall; from a sub-£10,000 city car or a Cascada with all the bells and whistles for £25,000 or £30,000."

Vauxhall's boss described the process as stop-start, but said the firm is where he wanted it to be at this stage.

"We've been going about it for around three years. For the first 18 months we'd probably say it isn't moving as fast as we had hoped, but in the past year it has caught up and got back on track,"

Aldred explained, claiming the fleet market is in some ways easier to influence. "You can talk to the customer one-on-one," he said.

 Aldred also claimed recent moves within the industry to cut down on deals to a limited number of brands work in Vauxhall's favour.

"I can think of a few accounts recently where they have gone from five to three, two or in one case down to one, and we've done well," he said.

"We take a fleet of cars to themand the drivers and purchase managers are very impressed with what we have got."

Vauxhall has also increased the usability of the three-day test drive programme, streamlining the eligibility criteria and administration that was involved, something it felt was putting people off.

"It's an industry-leading proposition, but getting people aware of it and to use it is not as easy as you would hope - it's a wonderful opportunity for the customer but you have to work hard at it," said Aldred.

"We've included fleet in it and done a lot of activity on the website to make people aware of the opportunity, and for business user choosers, they call, we drop a car at their house and pick it up three days later. It's an amazing proposition."