If you weren’t convinced before, then news that the Luton factory has just produced its one millionth Vivaro van may convince you.
The milestone comes 17 months after the firm reported the completion of its 900,000th Vivaro. Despite the disruption caused by the changeover to the new Vivaro model, Vauxhall has produced another 100,000 Vivaros since then, including 24,500 so far in 2015.
Fittingly, Vauxhall’s one millionth Vivaro went to one of the firm’s biggest customers and one the UK’s biggest fleet operators, BT Fleet.
BT Fleet has purchased 13,368 Vivaro vans over the last eleven years, and Mike Langford, Senior Customer Relationship Manager at BT Fleet, says that the current model is the best yet:
“We have purchased 13,368 Vivaros from Vauxhall over the past 11 years and they have served us well. The van has evolved over time to meet the changing needs of our workforce, and I believe the vans we are taking delivery of at the moment are their best yet.
BT Fleet currently operates 30,000 vehicles and so has considerable expertise and influence in the UK commercial vehicle market, so its support for the Vivaro is a good sign for the future of the Luton plant, which employs 1,500 people.
Vauxhall didn’t waste the opportunity to have a dig at rival Ford, pointing out that the Luton plant beat competition from across Europe to produce the new Vivaro. Luton is also expected to provide around £600m of business for smaller UK firms across the life of the Vivaro, as 40 per cent of the parts for the new Vivaro are sourced in the UK, up from 24 per cent for the previous model.
Ford shut its Transit factory in Southampton in 2013, moving production to Turkey. Vauxhall’s success begs the question — which I’ve asked before — as to why Ford couldn’t make a success of the plant.