General Motors is holding a pan-European pitch for its Vectra marque, shortlisting two agencies following the initial stages.
It is thought that Lowe, the incumbent on the UK account, has been knocked out, leaving Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners to fight it out with McCann Erickson Frankfurt for the business.
The account is estimated to be worth £50 million.
The pitch is an experiment for GM, which hopes to find one creative idea to run across Europe. The UK work, which is expected to launch in the autumn, will be Vauxhall-branded, while the rest of Europe will use the Opel brand.
After an initial round of pitching, which kicked off in February, it is understood that ideas from Lowe have failed to make it through research.
Lowe's 2002 relaunch work for the Vectra starred the actor Ed Harris in a courtroom drama scenario, playing a lawyer aiming to prove Vauxhall's claims about the car.
Lowe also created a Vectra launch push featuring helicopters delivering the cars to the sound of The Verve's track Bittersweet Symphony.
DLKW was drafted in to produce a Vectra press campaign last year. As the incumbent, Lowe was briefed to develop the work, but failed to meet the client's demands. However, Lowe is still the incumbent. UK spend on Vectra over the past year was £3 million, split between press and outdoor.
Vauxhall's usual practice is to hold a head-to-head pitch between Lowe and DLKW for each car marque, but its pan-European approach on this brief led to the involvement of McCann, which handles Opel across Europe.
Since its appointment to the Vauxhall roster in 2002, DLKW has won several briefs. These include the relaunch of the Astra in early 2004 and the Vauxhall dealer business. However, Lowe still works for Vauxhall on the Zafira, Tigra, Signum and Vauxhall Vans accounts.
Last year, GM held a review of its pan-European media planning and buying business, which resulted in it being consolidated into Universal McCann, with the exception of the UK account, which remained with Initiative.
Peter Hope, the Vauxhall brand and strategy manager, was unavailable for comment.