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Since the days of the Anglia and the Cortina, Ford has enjoyed its place as the UK’s top-selling car maker. Vauxhall has long languished in the No2 slot.
But now a war of words between the two companies has broken out. Vauxhall boss Duncan Aldred fired the first salvo, saying that he wanted his company to outsell its rival. And there’s action to back his bold words. Backed by the muscle of its global parent co., General Motors, Vauxhall is to introduce 33 new models within the next three years. Some will replace existing models; others will but a Vauxhall badge where previously unavailable. What’s more, the car maker will also introduce 20 new engines by 2016.
To start the ball rolling, Vauxhall has just given its family car – the Insignia – a thorough update, and cut its list price by up to £4825. That deals Ford a blow, because this model already outsells the Mondeo to the tune of 10,000 units a year.
But sales of smaller cars present the real battleground. Sales of Astras have occasionally overtaken those for Ford’s Focus. Meanwhile, the Fiesta regularly tops the chart for its sector, so taking the crown as the UK’s favourite new car.
Ford, however, reckons that, after 37 years as No1, it won’t surrender its lead any-time soon. Here’s marketing director Anthony Ireson: “We now have a 13.3% market share (of cars bought privately), up from 12.2% last year and 11.9% the year before.
“The Fiesta outsells its nearest rival (the Corsa) by two to one, so we are going to take some catching.”
Ford, too, is broadening its already extensive choice of models. Latest is its Tourneo Connect, a five- or seven-seater based on a van. It competes against Citroen’s Berlingo and the Fiat Doblo. And soon to come is the EcoSport, a SUV based on the Fiesta that’ll compete with the likes of Nissan’s Juke. Both introduce Ford to money-making market sectors.
So, the battle is on. Brave words from Vauxhall, but the company has a job on its hands if it is really to outstrip Ford. If you’re thinking of buying a new car, it’s good news, though. Deals will come thick and fast as two industry giants fight for your custom.
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