Vauxhall brand is as British as fish and chips, ASA rules

Vauxhall CorsaVauxhall Motors has seen off a challenge to its assertion that the car marque has been a “British Brand since 1903” following complaints that the firm has been owned by both French and American companies for nearly 100 years.

In a classic case of “haven’t they got anything better to do?”, four people rifled off complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority over Vauxhall’s latest TV ad campaign for the Corsa, featuring the claim, that launched in January this year.

In response to the ASA investigation, the car company stated that the Vauxhall brand was a trademark owned by Vauxhall Motors Ltd, a UK-registered entity, and Vauxhall branded vehicles were sold exclusively in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Vauxhall had always built vehicles in Britain and said the fact that Vauxhall’s parent company, Stellantis NV (formed by the 2021 merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and French company Groupe PSA) was neither British nor based in the UK did not change the fact that Vauxhall was a British brand.

Previous owner, General Motors of Detroit, Michigan, had maintained its commitment to the Vauxhall brand since it bought the firm in the 1920s.

Current and previous owners had recognised the value of maintaining a British manufacturing base with a UK workforce and a sales and marketing effort geared to maintaining the Britishness and success of the brand.

In its ruling, the watchdog confirmed the company was established in the UK and began manufacturing cars in 1903. It also said that Vauxhall’s headquarters, offices, staff and infrastructure were based in the UK and that it manufactured and assembled some of the brand’s models in the UK.

While the ASA recognised that some models within the Vauxhall brand were manufactured elsewhere, it was only possible to buy a Vauxhall-branded car in the UK.

Its ownership did not change the fact that the brand was established in and exclusively sold in the UK and that it maintained offices and manufacturing operations in the country, thus contributing to the national economy, the watchdog ruled.

In a rare move, the ASA concluded that no further action was required, with the ad free to air again in its current form.

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