VAUXHALL cars will be rebranded under the Opel name to appeal to the Russian car market, according to Rover’s former managing director.

Professor Kevin Morley, who is now director of business studies at the University of Warwick, said thousands of cars could be imported to Russia under the Opel brand because of Russian involvement in the deal to take over Opel and Vauxhall from General Motors.

He said: “No-one in Russia knows what a Vauxhall is.

“I’m sure we’ll see Vauxhall the brand disappear soon after the deal.

“If the Russians are looking to import the Astra then Ellesmere Port will benefit.”