PSA in Vauxhall vow
Neumann says British brand needs “more attention and clearer position” after French takeover is confirmed
British brand to get more attention after takeover, says boss
VAUXHALL/OPEL boss Karl-thomas Neumann believes that the British brand needs “more attention and a clearer position” if it’s to flourish under its new owner, PSA Peugeot-citroen.
The French firm announced on the eve of the Geneva Motor Show that it has reached a deal with General Motors to buy its European brands. The process is expected to be completed before the end of the year.
Speaking to Auto Express at the show, Neumann said that Vauxhall needs to react to the evolving tastes of UK customers. “We are further along repositioning the Opel brand than we are with Vauxhall,” he explained. “I think Vauxhall needs more attention and clearer positioning. There are so many changes in the British market – mainly the move towards premium or luxury brands.
“So we have to be clearer in what we stand for. We need to reposition the brand positively on the pricing. I am clear that we are not premium, but also, we don’t want to be cheap, right? This is something where PSA has the highest interest that we proceed on our path and don’t mess around.”
He added: “Some people ask me, ‘Will all your cars from now on look like French cars?’ And the answer is no, of course not. It’s British cars or German cars, and it’ll stay like this.”
Neumann also hinted that we’re unlikely to see many high-performance VXR Vauxhalls in the future. “In this world of a CO2 emissions regime,” he said, “we have to reduce the complexity.
“To maintain these engines [for VXR], to be compliant with emissions and competitive with consumption, it’s so much work. We can no longer afford to have the spread of engines that we have.
“Things are really changing – not only in performance cars but also premium. We have Opel OPC lines that look cool and have engines that are not high performance but which are genuinely good engines – fun to drive, and efficient.”
“We have to be clearer in what we stand for. We need to reposition the brand positively on pricing” KARL-THOMAS NEUMANN Boss of Vauxhall/opel