Vauxhall foresees a rosy future

Vauxhall Motors factory 1919

A rosy future for Vauxhall Motors Ltd was painted by Chairman Mr Leslie Walton at the company's annual meeting in London on April 24th, 1919. Not only had the first post-war cars been delivered but maximum output was anticipated with America seen as a potential market, and all men demobilised from the Army had been re-engaged with the prospect of more jobs being created for skilled workers.

With regard to post-war Vauxhalls, the Chairman was reported in the Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph (April 26th, 1919) to have told the meeting: “We have already delivered some of these cars, and we anticipate that from now onwards we shall be able to maintain our maximum output. We had hoped to have been able to start delivering these model very much earlier but, unfortunately, though we ourselves were well up to time in this respect, we were not able to obtain delivery of certain important accessories which we did not manufacture ourselves so soon as we had hoped.

“However, this is rapidly being remedied, and we anticipate maintaining a big output such as the works is now equipped to produce.”

Mr Walton continued: “I am glad to say we have re-engaged all the members of our Luton staff who were with us when the war broke out and who left us to join the Army and who have been demobilised and were willing to return. We hope during the course of the next few months to be able to get back those members who are still serving in His Majesty's forces.

“In addition to retaining the services of our old employees, we have been able to secure a very large increase in labour in our shops, which will enable us to work much more efficiently than we have been able to do during the war, when we were of necessity compelled to work very inefficiently through want of labour.

“We are still anxious to take on further skilled labour so that our greatly increased manufacturing facilities may be used to their full.

“I am glad to say the orders outstanding are sufficient to maintain our working at the utmost capacity well beyond the end of the year, and these orders could have been materially increased if it had been any advantage for us to have done so.

“With regard to the fuze department [wartime munitions], a small part of this will be kept employed for about six weeks on the completion of a contract for the Admiralty, but the rest of the department is being adapted to be utilised as an up-to-date repair shop. In due course the whole of this department will be utilised in some form in connection with the production of out standard manufacture.”

With regard to the future, Mr Walton said the directors had realised for some time that they had a unique opportunity of securing some very large and important world markets which had either been closed or so difficult to enter as to be not worth seriously considering in pre-war days, but which now offered opportunities of expansion.

With this end in view, Mr Pomeroy [who had resigned as a director and company engineer] would study the American market and report as to the desirability of developing the sale of cars for starting manufacture in that country to cater for the demand which was foreseen.

Many influential buyers in other markets had approached the company as the result of the fame Vauxhalls had attained on active service.