Vauxhall has been making cars in Britain for longer than anyone else. The name entered the UK industrial lexicon in 1897, when the Vauxhall Iron Works Company was formed to run the bankrupt engineering business founded by Alexander Wilson in 1859. The first Vauxhall car left the Thames side works in 1903. The company moved to Luton in 1905, and the solely car-making company Vauxhall Motors Limited was formed in 1907. Famed as a maker of sporting and luxury cars, Vauxhall was bought by the American giant General Motors in 1925. GM took the company into a new era of mass production and turned it into one of the top five car companies in the UK. After the Second World War, Vauxhall became the household name it is today, with models such as Viva, Astra, Cresta, Victor, Nova, and Cavalier. The journey from the Thames to today's plants at Ellesmere Port and Luton is full of twists, turns, dramas, and triumphs. Ian Coomber worked at Vauxhall for thirty-eight years, progressing from apprentice to the boardroom. He has told the Vauxhall story with the benefit of years of experience and a lifelong passion for the marque.
Ian Coomber joined Vauxhall in 1963 and was sponsored at university, gaining a first in mechanical engineering. After a GM scholarship in Detroit, his first Vauxhall assignment was handling customer complaints and he was soon assigned roles working with dealers as `the man from the factory'. He joined the sales department in 1973, returning to Luton head office in 1987 as fleet sales director, followed by a board appointment as executive director sales, marketing, and aftersales. The owner of three classics, Ian is active in the Vauxhall car club world.