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What happens when your entire dealer network disappears?

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Vauxhall, newly acquired by PSA Group, have announced the shuttering of more than 100 dealers in the United Kingdom, effectively terminating a third of their dealer network. The brand, known for being one of the oldest vehicle manufacturers in the UK, was recently sold off by General Motors after more than 90 years due to continued losses.

Automotive buyers in the United States would be familiar with Vauxhall from its flagship sedan the Insignia, seen below. In the United States, Buick markets the Insignia sedan and wagon as its new 2018 Regal and Tour X.

Finding efficiency

In a statement, Vauxhall communications director Denis Chick said the culling of dealers was part of the plan to bring more efficiency into the group;

“We will adapt our retailer agreements to ensure working together is simpler, quicker and more innovative, ultimately benefiting our customers.”

This news comes on the back of Vauxhall’s plunging sales in 2017, down a fifth from previous years with 2018 looking no better.

What do you do if you own a Vauxhall?

The idea that an entire dealer network could disappear could be very unsettling for car owners. The news however is that while many dealers will lose their Vauxhall name, some could simply become independent dealers or switch to another brand.

Vauxhall was promised that these changes will take place over two years and not overnight. They have also promised that their network will still remain one of the largest in the UK after the closures but says that Vauxhall owners whose local dealers close, will need to find new ones. Not exactly a great vote of confidence for Vauxhall owners. However, this is not unprecedented.

Opel down under and out

Vauxhall sister company Opel faced a somewhat similar fate in Australia in 2013. For years Australians bought Holden-badged Opel vehicles but in 2012, General Motors decided to bring the Opel brand to Australia. Just a year after Opel dealers opened in Australia however, the brand decided to close its operation, leaving Opel customers without branded dealers.

In Opel’s case, a deal was struck with Holden for their dealers to become the service point for Opel vehicles in the years that followed.

If Vauxhall were to close however, that would be like if you were an American buyer of a Ford in the extremely unlikely scenario they closed their dealer network.

Time will tell if Vauxhall’s plans to reshuffle their strategy will help bring efficiency to their network. In the meantime, news focus will turn to potential job losses and customers asking the question.

What happens if my entire dealer network disappears?

Automotive

Rare Ferrari GTO sells for record $70 million

How much money would you pay for the car of your dreams?

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How much money would you pay for the car of your dreams? What about a one-of-a-kind beauty that you see driving past your prestige dealer? How about a rare 1963 Ferrari GTO?

If you are Dave MacNeil, the answer to the latter, is USD $70 million. MacNeil, who is the CEO of automotive weather guard company WeatherTech, shelled out the record amount for a rare Ferrari.

It is no ordinary rare Ferrari of course. While already limited to 39 builds, this particular one, chassis number 4153 GT, is special. The car won the 1964 Tour de France motor race and finished fourth at Le Mans in 1963.

Records Broken

The $70 million paid by MacNeil eclipses the previous record for the Ferrari GTO. In 2013, a GTO was sold for a then record $53 million.

The Ferrari GTO is powered by a 3.0-litre V12 engine and is one of only 39 built between 1962-1964.

MacNeil joins an exclusive group of GTO owners that include Ralph Lauren and Walmart heir Rob Walton.

How much is too much?

When you are in the same tax bracket as the Ralph Laurens and Walmarts of the world, perhaps there really isn’t a price that is too much for a prized automobile. It is truly rarefied air when the cars in your collection exceed seven digits a piece. For the rest of us, it seems utterly ridiculous of course. Collectors however, do see the worth of these incredibly rare vehicles.

How would you rather spend $70 million? I would definitely buy an expensive sports car, but one for considerably less.

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Camaro coming to Australia as an automatic only

The Chevrolet Camaro is officially coming to Australia this year as an import from Holden Special Vehicles. Excitement may have been tempered slightly with its expected high price, and its auto-only option.

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With the demise of local manufacturing, Australian buyers looking for grunt outside of expensive European options have flocked to the Ford Mustang. Almost 10,000 ‘Stangs were sold last year, which is enough proof that, while Australians don’t make affordable muscle cars anymore, they still want to buy them.

Holden, without a flagship V8 for the first time in decades, is turning to its parent company GM for a much needed boost. Holden’s performance arm, Holden Special Vehicles, announced earlier that the Chevy Camaro, in its 2SS trim, will be made available this year.

Good News and Bad News

That’s definitely the good news portion of it. While the thrill of locally made, hotted-up Commodores have been put to bed, the Camaro is more than a worthy successor. HSV have announced the specs for the 2SS for Australia, proving that it’ll pack quite the punch to satisfy the cravings of auto enthusiasts and muscle car fans.

The Australian 2SS Camaros will come with a 6.2-litre Gen 5 LT1 V8, packing 454hp (339kW) and 455 ft-lb of torque (617Nm). It will have Brembo brakes, a bi-modal exhaust, tons of technology and a variety of colour options.

So what is bad news here? Well, the Camaros have started arriving in Australia in your factory standard left-hand drive version. They are being converted to right-hand drive by HSV, which will add a hefty bump to the price tag. While no official numbers have been released just yet, speculation is that the price will come in around USD$60,400 (AUD$80,000). That’s almost $20k more than made-for-Australia Mustangs. HSV says they will be looking to keep numbers at 1,000 units a year, well below that of Ford’s current Mustang sales.

Another sticking point for performance enthusiasts is that the Australian Camaros will be available with an automatic transmission only. I know that probably stings, so I’ll let that sink in for a moment. Equipped with paddle shifters, it’ll be mated to an 8-speed auto transmission, which means the Camaro will be based on the outgoing 2018 model, and not the new 2019.

Still a Winner

Time will tell how the factory-backed Camaro will do. European performance cars have done pretty well with automatic transmissions, so it shouldn’t really hurt that much. While on the pricey side, the Camaro will still be far more affordable than an Audi RS or BMW M-series. It is a just a shame that this particular car, one that is aimed at filling in some lofty Commodore shoes, comes a little shackled from the get-go.

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