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Little Classics News: 9 May 2015

90 Years of Vauxhall and 500 Million GM Cars

Vauxhall D-Type Staff Car

General Motors this week became the first car manufacturer in the world to produce 500 million vehicles, as Vauxhall in the UK (GM’s fourth largest market) celebrated 90 years of ownership by the US company.

‘During 2015, we expect to sell more than 1,000 new vehicles per hour, 24 hours per day,’ said Mary Barra, GM’s CEO. ‘This adds up to nearly ten million vehicles, the most in our history.’

Vauxhall DY classic car

The landmark figure came 90 years after General Motors purchased Vauxhall in 1925 in what was the American company’s first overseas acquisition. Luton-based Vauxhall, which is Britain’s oldest surviving car manufacturer, very quickly repaid GM’s investment and to date has sold nearly 14.5 million vehicles in its own right.

Like its parent company, which pioneered the automatic transmission, the V-8 engine and the first airbags in a production vehicle, Vauxhall has a long history of innovation too. Just 10 years into GM ownership it produced the DY (above) and DX models, the first British cars with independent front suspension. Two years later the H-type (below) was launched, the first British car to have an integral body and chassis.

Vauxhall H-Type classic car

But perhaps the most significant achievement for Vauxhall is its 112 years of continuous vehicle production, even during both World Wars when it manufactured the D-type Army Staff Car (top) and Churchill Tank (below) respectively from its Kimpton Road plant in Luton.

Churchill Tank at Vauxhall

Today, Vauxhall’s Vivaro van is still built on Kimpton Road, with a further five million vehicles produced by the company’s Ellesmere Port plant since it opened in 1964.


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