Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Vauxhall Kings of Sales Castle

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Vauxhall Kings of Sales Castle

Article excerpt

Byline: By Steve Hughes

Nothing is for ever, as Vauxhall has just proved by knocking Ford's Focus off the top of the UK sales charts with its new Astra.

This is despite the rival Focus having been updated.

This must have sent a shiver through the Blue Oval's corridors of power, especially as Vauxhall performed better than Ford overall too.

Ford has long been the nation's favourite because its products offered the best value and were invariably the least expensive to run.

Things shifted into overdrive with the arrival of the Focus and the latest Mondeo, which not only made sound financial sense but were also brilliant driver's cars, especially the new diesels.

The Fiesta was the nation's favourite supermini and the Puma a peerless coupe.

Now the Astra is the best selling car of all, the Corsa is our favourite supermini and the Zafira even out-sells Volkswagen's Polo.

Vauxhall has four cars in the top ten in comparison to three for Ford, two for Volkswagen and a single Peugeot.

Vauxhall even issued a publicity picture of a woman walking towards the new Astra which bears a striking similarity to one previously issued by Ford for the Focus, as if to say that the roles are now reversed.

It is possible the tables will be turned during the vital month of March but at least it shows no car company has an automatic monopoly of our affections.

Brand loyalty is no longer blind, except perhaps in the case of BMW's unwavering followers and generally we are now more prepared to switch if the product is good enough. Nowhere is this truer than in the case of Skoda, whose sales soared by 35% last month.

If you wonder where all of these buyers came from and whose rival brand they are deserting in droves, consider that Rover's nose-diving sales crashed by yet another 50% last month. Publicity surrounding payments to some directors within an ailing company has proved to be as damaging and distasteful to the public as the mediocrity of the ageing products now on offer. …

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