New Vauxhall MD as Tozer quits
06 October 2015
Author: Hugh Hunston
Vauxhall has appointed Rory Harvey as its new chairman and MD, after Tim Tozer's sudden departure from the company "to pursue his career outside of General Motors".
Although Vauxhall wouldn't expand on the reasons for the change - which occurred just a day after Tozer was present at the new Astra media launch - leading car retailing publication Auto Retail Bulletin pointed to sources claiming the departure was due to pressure from European bosses to register more cars in the UK.
That move would go against stated Vauxhall policy of reducing short-cycle and discount business as it attempts to build residual values. Tozer had previously declared the company would sell between 50,000 and 60,000 cars into rental fleets this year, but that represented half the short-cycle factor of six years ago.
Harvey has wide experience within GM - Vauxhall's parent company - after joining the firm in 1989. He has worked in several areas of sales and aftersales, and his most recent position was executive director of sales at Opel, having previously served as Chevrolet MD prior to the brand's withdrawal from the UK.
Harvey will report to Peter Kuespert, vice-president of sales and aftersales at Opel, who said: "Rory has a profound knowledge of the British car market, a wealth of experience within Vauxhall and Opel, and excellent management qualities."
Before his surprise exit, Tozer spoke to BusinessCar at the Frankfurt motor show last month, and revealed that the UK will not get GM's planned new all-electric car, which will be engineered and sold only in left-hand drive form for mainland Europe when it comes to market, which is likely by the end of this decade
As a result, the UK operation will play a restricted role in the parent company's campaign to reach the EU's 95g/km range average by 2020 as the next-generation plug-in range-extender Chevrolet Volt, previously sold as the Ampera as well as the Chevrolet, will also not be imported to Europe in either left- or right-hand drive form.
Confirming the lack of an extended-range hybrid or pure-electric Vauxhall, Tozer said: "When GM came up with the next-generation model, the numbers and business case did not add up for Europe or us."
But Tozer added: "Despite this, GM, by virtue of the electric model, will meet the 95g/km Euro objective."