Vauxhall Motors Limited is a British car brand, which is a fully owned subsidiary of German car manufacturer Opel, which in turn is owned by Groupe PSA of France. Vauxhall's vehicle lineup is identical to that of its parent, Opel, but the Vauxhall brand is exclusively used in the United Kingdom and Isle of Man. Vauxhall is one of the oldest established vehicle manufacturers and distribution companies in the United Kingdom. Its headquarters are in Chalton, Bedfordshire, on the outskirts of North Luton. Vauxhall sells passenger cars and light commercial vehicles under the Vauxhall marque, and used to sell vans, buses, and trucks under the Bedford Vehicles brand. Vauxhall has been the second-largest selling car brand in the UK for more than two decades.
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Vauxhall was founded by Alexander Wilson in 1857 as a pump and marine engine manufacturer. It was bought in 1863 by Andrew Betts Brown, who began producing travelling cranes; he named the company Vauxhall Iron Works. It began manufacturing cars in 1903. It was acquired by American automaker General Motors (GM) in 1925. Bedford Vehicles was established as a subsidiary of Vauxhall in 1930 to manufacture commercial vehicles.Having been a luxury-car brand before the Second World War, after the war, Vauxhall became increasingly mass-market. Since 1980, Vauxhall products have been largely identical to those of Opel, and most models are principally engineered in Rüsselsheim, Germany.
The Vauxhall Certificate of Conformity is available for all Vauxhall built by the European market.
The VXR range is analogous to the OPC range made by Opel Performance Center, the HSV range made by Holden Special Vehicles in Australia and the SS range made by Latin America Chevrolet. The models include the Corsa VXR, Astra VXR, Insignia VXR, Meriva VXR, Zafira VXR, VXR8, VX220 (no longer in production), and the Australian-built Holden Monaro (also no longer in production). These vehicles are high-performance machines, and are ideally aimed for younger buyers. Vauxhall unveiled a new model based on the Australian HSV Maloo at the 2005 National Exhibition Centre motor show in Birmingham, England. It was claimed that the monstrous V8 Ute had a top speed around 200 mph (320 km/h) – which is extremely fast for a utility vehicle. However, the model never got to the showroom in the United Kingdom. The Monaro (two-door design) is also no longer made, but a new version (a four-door saloon) is now on sale as the VXR8. The VXR8 is based on Australia's HSV Clubsport R8. This car reaches 0–60 in 5 seconds, in similar territory to other muscle car contemporaries such as the Dodge Viper (SRT-10) and Corvette Z06 – and marginally slower than the Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) FG F6. The VXR badge is a symbol of the combined technological resources of the global General Motors group, and the recognised expertise of consultants Lotus and the Triple Eight Racing Team.
General Motors began to merge the product lines of Vauxhall and Opel in the early 1970s, largely in favour of Opel products. The 1963 HA Viva was developed under some secrecy and exhibited remarkable similarities with the Opel Kadett released a year previously, while the 1972 FE Victor was essentially the first overt exponent of this strategy, sharing its platform and several body fittings with the Opel Rekord D, although it still retained Vauxhall-designed running gear and had no interchangeable body panels. 1975 saw the release of both the Vauxhall Chevette, (a reworked Opel Kadett featuring 'Droopsnoot' styling and an initially unique hatchback bodystyle option), and the Cavalier, a similarly restyled Ascona. By the end of the 1970s most Vauxhalls were based on Opel designs.
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The Chevette, Cavalier and Carlton were restyled versions of the Kadett, Ascona and Rekord respectively, all featuring the distinctive sloping 'Droopsnoot' front end first prototyped on the HPF Firenza, with Vauxhall engines preserved in the form of the Viva-sourced 1256 unit fitted to the Chevette and Cavalier, and the much larger 2279cc slant-four for the homologation-special Chevette HS. However the Viceroy and Royale were simply rebadged versions of Opel's Opel Commodore C and Senator, imported from Germany.