There are few brands as historic and reputable in the UK than Vauxhall. The car manufacturer, which is headquartered in Luton, dates back to 1857 when it was founded by Alexander Wilson as a pump and marine engine manufacturer. It became Vauxhall Iron World before beginning manufacturing cars in 1903.
A UK Favourite
General Motors took over ownership in 1925 as part of a European expansion and they switched focus from luxury cars to mass-market automobiles in the wake of World War II. Since then, Vauxhall has become a UK favourite and they have been the second-largest-selling car brand in the UK for the last 20 years.
Vauxhall cars are known for their practicality, reliability and affordability. The brand is also known for having a car in every sector, from small city cars right through to large SUVs and MPVs. A few of their current most popular models include the Insignia, Viva and Crossland X, but Vauxhall also has a number of classic cars in its history that have greatly inspired auto manufacturers from around the world.
One of the earliest Vauxhall cars that turned out to be hugely influential is Vauxhall Cadet from 1930. It became the country’s very first car that came with a synchromesh gearbox, which is now a vital part of a manual transmission. This was shortly followed by another innovation – the Ten-Four in 1938 which was the first UK car with unitary construction.
Following World War II, Vauxhall began to manufacturer cars for the masses and the most notable of these was the Viva, which began production in 1963. This small family car became an instant classic thanks to the fact that it was small, reliable, strong and cheap to run. Production of the Viva ran till 1979, but the influence of it can be seen in today’s hugely popular and competitive city car market. These vehicles need to be small for urban driving, but they must also be spacious inside and reliable for families. These are areas that the Viva excelled in and why it enjoyed such a lengthy production run.
Continued Success and Innovation
In 1975, Vauxhall managed to boost sales with the release of the Chevette hatchback and the stylish Cavalier saloon. The Cavalier quickly became a UK favourite thanks to its cool and unique design, whilst the Chevette was well-timed with motorists increasingly looking at small cars due to the Oil Criss of 1973. The next influential car would be the Astra in 1989, which replaced the Viva and remains in production to this day as one of the best-selling cars. It built on the success of the Viva, but it was also the company’s first transverse engined, front-wheel-drive car and one which has certainly influenced many manufacturers.
The groundbreaking Corsa was released in 1993 and this forever changed the small car sector. In addition to its excellent design and practicality, the Corsa was also one of the first cars to bring new features like power steering, anti-lock brakes and a car alarm. These are all standard and important features that you will find in all vehicles today. This helped the Corsa to be a massive hit and it remains one of the more common sights on UK roads today. The Corsa would later earn a 5-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash test, helping it to become even more reliable and popular with families.
In modern times, Vauxhall continues to be a pioneering and innovative brand. One great example of this Insignia, which was named Car of the Year in 2009 and features a groundbreaking design and state of the art technology. This makes it very popular with both critics and the public, with the Insignia remaining one of the better large family cars available.
As you can see, Vauxhall has a long history of innovation and forward-thinking. Many of their designs and innovations have influenced other manufacturers and this makes them an important company in the industry. There is now a brilliant range of beautifully designed Vauxhall cars available with a car to suit every type of motorist. They are best-known for their small hatchbacks which are very popular with young drivers, couples and professionals, but Vauxhall also have SUVs, executive cars, saloons and many others to choose from.
Vauxhall cars are built to last, so they are an excellent option to buy second hand. This can make them even more affordable and, due to their popularity, there is never a shortage of used Vauxhall’s available. Due to their build quality, a used Vauxhall is very reliable even if you opt for one of the older models. It is for these reasons that this is such a beloved company in the country and their history shows that they are also hugely influential in the auto market.