Funny old thing is the interweb isn’t it? It brings out the very best in people but sadly… it brings out the very worst.
I posted the other day about the news that Vauxhall Motors Ltd have entered into a 45 day period of consultation with plans to move their corporate UK headquarters out of its present site – Griffin House. Many of you will know that Groupe PSA, incumbents of Vauxhall and Opel, are working their way through their plan to make Vauxhall Opel (VO) profitable by 2020. The strategy is internally called PACE.
Well the pace is certainly gathering (no pun intended) PSA are leaving no stone unturned nor are they afraid to look down every avenue in their desire and ultimate goal of reaching, what many people seem to think is a dirty word I may add – profit. Of course many a bitter pill is being swallowed right now as VO slowly change from a loss making division of General Motors into a lean, cost effective division of Groupe PSA.
As is often the case, some unfair, untrue and potentially damaging reporting of a rumour led basis has been floating around on social media. What made it that little bit more saddening to me was the fact that a fair chunk of it has come from seasoned and time served journalists and writers of note. Nothing hits the headlines like bad news – even if its true or not.
Even Auntie BBC got wind of the story. Once the rumours were quashed and true facts put directly to them they opted not to run any story at all citing their reasons being as it wouldn’t be interesting or newsworthy. Incredible, unless a bucket load of Vauxhall workers are being turfed out by their ear with a redundancy payment the local BBC can not be bothered. Don’t you think that’s a bit sad? I certainly do.
The 70+ car collection of the Vauxhall heritage fleet has the most public interest. I have spoken a few key inside people at Vauxhall over the last couple of days and below are the rumours… and more importantly… the truths. Oh, and before the cries of; “but he’s biased towards Vauxhall anyway” you may be right. But I am biased owards Jaguar Land Rover – biased towards Honda Swindon – biased towards Toyota Burnaston – biased towards Nissan Sunderland – biased towards… have you getting the emerging pattern yet?
Anyway… here goes.
Rumour No:1 “PSA are not interested in keeping the heritage fleet”
Truth: Groupe PSA acknowledge and respect the long Vauxhall timeline. The heritage fleet is safe and will continue to be looked after. The current site will be affected by the closure of Griffin House. The heritage centre will be relocating elsewhere in Luton but details are not known at this time.
Rumour No:2 “The two engineers who look after the heritage fleet have been made redundant”
Truth: Andy Boddy and Terry Forder have NOT been made redundant and are to continue in their capacity as Vauxhall employees caring for the fleet of over 70 historic vehicles.
Rumour No:3 “Over 300 jobs are at risk of redundancy“
Truth: The closure of Griffin House involves no compulsory redundancies. Key staff are to be deployed into other more modern Vauxhall offices in the Luton area.
So why close Griffin House?
Well… I would say it revolves around two factors.
Griffin House is a very large and old office complex. It was opened years ago to house the design and testing department. Once this was no longer required the opportunity was taken to house the head offices that by 1991 were ancient. Since that period the Griffin House building has never been fully utilised to maximum capacity. In fact some floors are actually empty… and have been for some time.
More importantly, Griffin House is an expensive building to operate from, requires constant maintenance and isn’t particularly energy efficient. Its purely a business decision to streamline operations, reduce overhead costs and to assist in the integration of the Vauxhall brand into the PSA fold, hopefully without losing too much of its DNA and brand identity.