PSA in Vaux­hall vow

Neu­mann says Bri­tish brand needs “more at­ten­tion and clearer po­si­tion” after French takeover is con­firmed

Auto Express - - Contents - Steve Fowler Steve_­fowler@den­nis.co.uk @steve­fowler

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

COM­ING TO­GETHER (From left) PSA Group CEO Car­los Tavares with Vaux­hall/ Opel boss Karl-thomas Neu­mann and GM pres­i­dent Dan Am­mann

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