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Beware Car Supermarkets - RogerL
Some car supermarkets in the Midlands have large numbers of non-UK specification Opel Astra and Opel Zafira. Apparently these low-spec vehicles were sourced in Malta, imported through Eire, and were intended to be re-badged as Vauxhalls and sold on to the unsuspecting public. They also have even larger numbers of Ford Focus and Ford Mondeo but I don't know whether these are UK-spec or not.

We all want cars at the same price as Europeans but car supermarkets and personal imports are not the answer because right-hand drive cars for other markets are usually lower specification, The only answer is to remove the block exemption and remove fleet discounts, which are still up to 25%.

The other answer is for the UK to switch to left-hand drive, which may well be cheaper in the medium and long term.
Re: Beware Car Supermarkets - T lucas
If you are happy with the spec and more importantly the price does it matter what market it was built for?Also why bring them from Malta via Ireland,just costs more as far as i can see.As for RHD/LHD thera are many countries that drive RHD including the vast market of Japan and cars do not come much cheaper than the Jap home market prices.
Re: Beware Car Supermarkets - RogerL
Yes it does matter because second-hand car buyers are being ripped off. The trade guides for second-hand cars, Glass's etc, assume that cars are full UK-spec. So imports should be correspondingly lower priced but as a car gets older, it gets more difficult to check the history.

I was warning people that low-spec Opel Astra's are being "converted" to Vauxhall Astra's to command a higher price but without the higher spec.

This whole problem arises because we, the British car-buying public, are "happy" to pay more for a car than other Europeans or Americans. The laws of supply and demand apply absolutely to car prices.
Re: Beware Car Supermarkets - T lucas
Who is converting Opels into Vauxhall? sounds like an expensive pointless exercise to me,how do they register Opels as Vauxhalls?Sounds like pub talk to me.Any car is worth what somebody is prepared to pay for it and all the guides are just that-guides.The lists of options and standard equipment mean that to value a car these days needs a little more thought and experience than just looking in the book and spouting off what it says on page 406 about a cars value.
Re: Beware Car Supermarkets - Paul Cassell
Surely the main problem is of the corrosion resistance of different cars built for different markets. I think this has come up before.
Re: Beware Car Supermarkets - T lucas
If the corrosion resisistance is not up to much that will soon become apparent.I do not think Malta will qualify for their own spec cars,not much of a market.
Re: Beware Car Supermarkets - Pete
You just change the badges from Opel to Vauxhall - £20 for parts, tops!
Re: Beware Car Supermarkets - alvin.booth
Nothing would surprise me in the motor retail business. And where cars are actually built is a lottery.
Travelling down through Spain a couple of years I passed large numbers of brand new Audi's and VWs on transporters heading north!!!. Where had they been assembled?. And its probably changed again since.
A friend of mine bought a Laguna with a saving of about 5K from Motorpoint with the main Renault dealer just along the road. They had been sourced for Cyprus. How it all works nobody seems to know although we have heard plenty of theories.
Some 30 odd years ago it used to be reported that manufacturers made about 20 quid profit on each car and it was the dealer who put the big mark up in the showroom. My own personal despair is for British Industry and farming.
We don't make anything any more and we can't feed ourselves. In an International crisis we would be in the hands of others. Even in simple technology we depend so much elsewhere. In the heating and plumbing industry for example my own speciality, we used to export around the world in vast quantities. Nowadays we import the majority from Italy and others.
I don't wish to sound a Jeremiah but I feel sure it will catch up with us one day.
A service economy as we have is very fragile and depends on the affluent society we have today continuing hopefully!!!
Re: Beware Car Supermarkets - Colin M
Tony, the Opel > Vauxhaull exercise is just badge swapping, mainly to help UK customers get properly insured (they don't recognise Opels here). Many importers carry out the swap during the PDI as a matter of routine.

Roger, you say personal imports are not the answer. General advice in importing circles is to comply as far as possible with the UK specification for resale value. Some manufacturers, eg Audi, will not build a non UK spec car in RHD if they know it's destined for the UK. Usually the differences are optional extras in Europe in any case. We know the nett effect of options on future values, so I would argue that a car that looks like a 5 year old Golf will achieve whatever price is paid by the punter at the time.

Paul, do you really think manufacturers halt production, alter their spray robots and say "right, this one is for Malta"? Anticorrosion is usually by galvanisation of the shell/panels in any case.

There is a lot of confusion between grey imports and parallel imports, the latter being the purchase of a UK spec car that matches identically the one sitting in your local dealer but at 20-25% less.

Whilst UK dealers continue to maintain their inflated prices to the consumer to protect the fleet residuals, then the private buyer can continue to save, and protect the initial depreciation by popping over to Europe.

Business with Euro dealers is often a much more enjoyable experience too.

Re: Beware Car Supermarkets - T lucas
You still cannot register an Opel as a Vauxhall,no matter how many badges you swap and any of the insurers that realise this is the 21st century will insure your GM shed regardless of the badge.I have not conted the No of badges that make an Opel into a Vauxhall but it would seem an expensive excercise,especially if the steering wheel airbag is marked.Seems to me its about time GM ditched the daft Vauxhall name anyway,UK must be the only market that uses it now anyway.
Re: Beware Car Supermarkets - alvin.booth
No I don't think we should ditch the name of Vauxhall. Its a little bit of British motoring history and we should cling to any bit of tradition we are able to.
Actually my Vectra has got Opel on virtually every body piece and component under the bonnet .
I would love it even more if it had flutes along the bonnet but wouldn't wish for it to have the second name changed to Victor.
Re: Beware Car Supermarkets - Andy T
There was actually a newspaper article within the last 2-3 months, about a court case in England regarding a garage being fined for selling re-badged Opel Astra's as Vauxhall Astra's.

The garage had imported from Cyprus, I think, where it was stated in court that the corrosion protection was not to the same standard as UK bound cars.
Re: Beware Car Supermarkets - T lucas
Is that whats known as an Urban Myth?
Re: Beware Car Supermarkets - Paul Cassell
Thanks Andy. I had that case in mind, but couldn't remember the
exact details so didn't quote it.

Looking through the search facility here, I saw a the thread which In conjunction with that I article I based my assumptions.

>Author: RogerL (
> Date: 25-11-01 14:21

> The Astra has also had its anti-corrosion warranty reduced from > 12 to 6 years. This may be because of the number of cheap
> Vauxhalls (Opels) imported by car supermarkets which do not
> have the same rustproofing as UK-specification models.

I agree that it seems odd that they are rust protected to a different degree. Urban myth...who knows..probably HJ.
Re: Beware Car Supermarkets - T lucas
Did this court case actually happen?or is it an Urban Myth/pub talk.
Re: Beware Car Supermarkets - RogerL
The court case against one of the car supermarkets recommended by Honest John was widely reported in the Midlands. Apparently they were spending about £300 per car to re-badge at the Gold Star Vauxhall dealership in Cannock. I won't name the car supermarket because they don't deserve any publicity, just beware of Opels and Vauxhalls with low spec levels.

It may be that any Vauxhall Astra hatchback with no Vin plate under the bonnet but with an Adam Opel Vin sticker on the driver's door pillar is a re-badged Opel import because only saloon models are genuinely imported by Vauxhall.
Re: Beware Car Supermarkets - RogerL
The cost involved is more than just a few chrome badges; radiator grill, wheel trims, engine cover, airbagged steering wheel, etc. It really is surprising the length that some car dealers will go to to con the car-buying public.

If you want more details, contact Staffordshire Trading Standards or Cannock Magistrates Court. I don't think Motorpoint have made a statement about this deception.

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