Magazine article Management Today

MT Stuff: Motor Mouth - Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer 2.0 CDTI 4X4

Magazine article Management Today

MT Stuff: Motor Mouth - Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer 2.0 CDTI 4X4

Article excerpt

This 4x4 may not be prestigious, but it's a valid down-to-earth alternative to costlier rivals, says Matthew Gwyther.

Brands, eh? Fickle things. Here is Karl-Thomas Neumann, the chief executive of General Motors' European sub-brand Opel, talking recently about his frustrations with the perceptions of his potential customers: 'There was a red elephant standing beside the car that nobody talked about, which says: 'You can't buy me because I'm an Opel.'We're talking about a wall in the head ... (The) Opel brand in Germany didn't help any more, it was hindering.'

If Herr Neumann thinks that the Opel name has a wall-in-the-head/red-elephant problem, one wonders what he thinks about Vauxhall. Sexy it isn't. 'Vauxhall Conference' doesn't shout top-end desirability (the Royal Vauxhall Tavern is something else altogether).

This is a shame. I've always liked Vauxhalls. To me, the brand said decent, honest, properly engineered, semi-Germanic reliability, even if it originated in Luton. My wife swears that the battered Astra she owned in the 1990s was one of the finest sets of wheels she has ever possessed. I remain keener on estates than many of the ludicrous, butch-looking SUVs that have all the aerodynamic properties of a brick I'm in a minority here: the sales of station wagons haven't fared well recently.

The Insignia estate, especially in this fancy, rugged 4WD Country Tourer version, is a perfectly acceptable piece of quasi-rural family-guy/girl kit. It's an honest wet-dog-and-welly machine. …

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