Vauxhall Motors and the Luton Economy, 1900-2002

'Liar!' 'Judas!' 'Traitor!' Why was the once popular Managing Director of Vauxhall Motors called these names by his own workforce? This story traces how the once mighty company, Vauxhall, which dominated the Luton economy and South Midlands area, declined. How did Vauxhall rise from a small London engineering company to the peak of its production in the 1960s where its local influence was so powerful that it set the trend for wages and even holidays in the surrounding Luton area? How was it saved from certain bankruptcy in the 1920s, rising to one of the largest car companies in Britain and Europe? How did it decline as a result of the decisions of a large multinational? How could this decision affect the prospects of the once enormous workforce, reducing its presence from over 35,000 employed in the early 1970s to under two thousand in 2002? This is, of course, also the story of the British motor car industry and its decline. The book explores Vauxhall's rise to the 'Big Six' vehicle producers with its car and truck model production, marketing and financial techniques. It also tells the stories of some of the men that made the company a success, whether top management or shop floor workers and unionists.