GM: We're Staying In Luton, The French May Go

Cammy Corrigan
by Cammy Corrigan
gm we re staying in luton the french may go

A few months ago I reported how Renault was planning on pulling out of IBC Vehicles (a joint venture between Nissan, General Motors and Renault) so they could take production of their Renault Trafic van to their underutilized plant in Sandouville, France. This would have left IBC Vehicles in trouble as valuable volume would have left the plant in a precarious position. Well, it seems IBC Vehicles can now afford to say “Au Revoir” to Renault.

The Telegraph reports that even though sales at IBC Vehicles fell by almost a third in 2009 (2008 saw IBC making 87,175 vehicles. 2009 IBC produced 54,207 units), GM has IBC Vehicles’ back. Right now GM and Renault are locked in talks about where their partnership is going (my guess is that Renault wants the partnership to go over the English Channel). But Nick Reilly (CEO of GM Europe) said he was “confident” of securing the future of IBC Vehicles in Luton and that even if the production of vans left Luton, GM “has some ideas for some other things”. A little research shows that Luton used to build the Vauxhall Cavalier (A.K.A Opel Vectra first generation) and the second generation Vectra (when GM retired the “Cavalier” name) so maybe a return to building cars is on the agenda?

Duncan Aldred, MD of Vauxhall said “Luton is the home of Vauxhall and has been since 1903. We are committed to maintaining production in Luton in some way, shape or form.” Frankly, I’m stunned for 2 reasons.

1. Production is actually staying in the UK and at a factory which was in the same league as GM’s Antwerp factory (i.e Dead Plant Operating) and

2. This is the second day I’ve reported good things about GM. I may actually consider a Vauxhall for my next car! But only the Astra. That’s made in the UK.

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  • GregLocock Two adjacent states in Australia have different attitudes to roadworthy inspections. In NSW they are annual. In Victoria they only occur at change of ownership. As you'd expect this leads to many people in Vic keeping their old car.So if the worrywarts are correct Victoria's roads would be full of beaten up cars and so have a high accident rate compared with NSW. Oh well, the stats don't agree.
  • Lorenzo In Massachusetts, they used to require an inspection every 6 months, checking your brake lights, turn signals, horn, and headlight alignment, for two bucks.Now I get an "inspection" every two years in California, and all they check is the smog. MAYBE they notice the tire tread, squeaky brakes, or steering when they drive it into the bay, but all they check is the smog equipment and tailpipe emissions.For all they would know, the headlights, horn, and turn signals might not work, and the car has a "speed wobble" at 45 mph. AFAIK, they don't even check EVs.
  • Not Tire shop mechanic tugging on my wheel after I complained of grinding noise didn’t catch that the ball joint was failing. Subsequently failed to prevent the catastrophic failure of the ball joint and separation of the steering knuckle from the car! I’ve never lived in a state that required annual inspection, but can’t say that having the requirement has any bearing on improving safety given my experience with mechanics…
  • Mike978 Wow 700 days even with the recent car shortages.
  • Lorenzo The other automakers are putting silly horsepower into the few RWD vehicles they have, just as Stellantis is about to kill off the most appropriate vehicles for that much horsepower. Somehow, I get the impression the OTHER Carlos, Tavares, not Ghosn, doesn't have a firm grasp of the American market.