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Luton site gearing up to meet new Vivaro demand

01 May 2014 #CV Show #Features & Interviews #News #Van

Vauxhall’s Luton van factory looks set to return to a double shift in 2015 as demand for the all-new Vivaro, which was unveiled at the Commercial Vehicle Show, starts to rise says Plant Director, Mike Wright.

“We’re planning to build 54,000 a year and I think that figure is conservative,” he says. “I would like to see us assembling from 65,000 to 67,000 annually and I would like to think that we will eventually be producing more like 75,000.”

Moving to a double shift will involve hiring 250 to 300 more workers. The factory currently employs 1,200.

Vauxhall plans for its new model to represent good news for the UK’s automotive component industry. While 25% of the previous Vivaro’s parts content was domestically sourced, the newcomer takes the percentage to over 40%.

“The fuel tank is now British made, so are more of the vehicle’s smaller components, and more of the sheet metal is UK-sourced too,” Wright says.

Around 52% of Vivaro production will be exported with an Opel badge on it says Vauxhall Chairman and Managing Director, Tim Tozer, who is eager to stress the fact that Vivaro is now the sole panel van assembled on this side of the Channel.

“It represents a unique proposition for people who care about manufacturing in this country,” he adds.

Vauxhall Motors Chairman and Managing Director, Tim Tozer, introduces the new Vauxhall Vivaro Van

Vivaro and the recently-revised Movano will help spearhead what General Motors hopes will be a revival of its commercial vehicle fortunes across Europe. It aims to double its van sales by 2022.

Although there are stylistic differences, Vivaro shares the same basic design as Renault’s new Trafic thanks to a long-standing joint venture between GM and Renault.

Power comes courtesy of four 1.6-litre diesel engines at 90hp, 115hp, 120hp and 140hp with the two most powerful fitted with twin turbos. Offering more cargo space than the departing models – load cubes go up to 8.6cu m – and with a gross payload capacity of up to almost 1,300kg depending on the variant chosen, the new arrivals can be specified with a satellite navigation package that allows destinations to be entered verbally.

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