Vauxhall sold to Peugeot owner in £1.9bn deal


he company behind Peugeot has moved to allay fears that its €2.2bn (£1.9bn) deal to buy the Opel and Vauxhall brands from General Motors Europe will result in job losses or even factory closures.

PSA’s statement said it intended to manage the group – the second largest in Europe with a 17% market share – by honouring existing commitments to workers.

Vauxhall employs 4,500 staff between its two major sites – at Ellesmere Port, which makes the Astra, and Luton, where the Vivaro van is produced.

Both plants have production contracts that are due to run to 2021 and 2025 respectively.

But while PSA signalled a medium-term commitment to the workforce, it said future investment would be dependent on “performance”.

GM Europe has not made an annual profit since 1999, something PSA said would change.

Its profit push would be aided, the French firm said, by annual cost savings of around £1.5bn – to be achieved across the enlarged business – by 2026, with the bulk of them likely by 2020.

There are fears the Brexit vote could make the UK plants, currently the most efficient in Europe, less competitive through new trade arrangements. The bulk of Opel’s production is in Germany.

Carlos Tavares, chairman of PSA’s managing board, said of the company’s workforce: “They understand that their future is in their hands based on their ability to give themselves the level of performance that will ensure the sustainability of their company.”

The Business Secretary Greg Clark said in response: “The Government welcomes the assurance by PSA that they will respect the commitments made by GM to Vauxhall’s employees and pensioners.