1977 Chrysler Sunbeam featuring Petula Clark

Advert from 1977 for the Chrysler Sunbeam featuring Petula Clark .

The Chrysler Sunbeam is a small supermini 3-door hatchback manufactured by Chrysler Europe at the former Rootes Group factory in Linwood in Scotland. The Sunbeam’s development was funded by a British government grant with the aim to keep the Linwood plant running, and the small car was based on the larger Hillman Avenger also manufactured there. After the takeover of Chrysler’s European operations by PSA, the model was renamed Talbot Sunbeam and continued in production for some time. A Talbot Sunbeam Lotus version was successful in rallying and won the World Rally Championship Manufacturers’ title for Talbot in 1981.


Background

In mid-1970s, the British automotive industry was in crisis, marred by frequent strikes and decreasing competitiveness compared to the increasingly successful Japanese automakers. It took its toll on Chrysler UK, which was the name given to the former Rootes Group after its takeover by the USA-based Chrysler Corporation. In particular, the Linwood facility was generating losses due to many reasons, including underutilized capacity.

In 1975, the famous Ryder Report led to the effective nationalization of Chrysler UK’s major competitor, British Leyland. Chrysler management decided that the company should therefore also benefit from state aid, and pressed the government for it by threatening to close the UK operations. The government agreed to a state grant reported at GBP 55 Million to fund the development of a small car, to be developed in Chrysler’s UK facilities and manufactured in Linwood.

Info gleaned from Wikipedia

Vauxhall Astra 1992

1992 ad for the Vauxhall Astra

Astra is a model name which has been used by Vauxhall, the British subsidiary of General Motors (GM), on their small family car ranges since 1979. Astras are technically essentially identical with similar vehicles offered by GM’s German subsidiary Opel in most other European countries. For the first two generations, the nameplate was applied to UK-spec right-hand drive versions of Opel Kadett (which it was sold as in the Republic of Ireland in right-hand drive), and since 1991, Opel also uses the Astra nameplate, so Vauxhall and Opel Astras are essentially identical vehicles. General Motors’ Saturn division in America also offers the Astra since late 2007.

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Vauxhall Nova

1984 Vauxhall Nova commercial from the UK.

The Vauxhall Nova was produced by General Motors between 1983 and 1993. It replaced the Vauxhall Chevette and Opel Kadett City. All Nova and Vauxhall Corsa models were made in Spain, with the first British customers taking delivery of their cars in April 1983. It gave Vauxhall a much-needed modern competitor in the UK supermini market, as the Chevette was older than the majority of its competitors, namely the Ford Fiesta and Austin Metro. (more…)