Vauxhall Chief Makes UK Plant Threat

Tue 30th Jul 2019

As the ongoing uncertainty over the conditions of Brexit persist, one major motoring manufacturer has admitted that more than 1,000 jobs could be at risk.

Carlos Tavares, chief executive of PSA, which is the parent company of Vauxhall, has told the Financial Times that if Brexit affects trading then they have a contingency plan which would see production move to southern Europe - threatening closure to the historic Ellesmere Port plant.

"Frankly I would prefer to put it (the Astra car) in Ellesmere Port, but if the conditions are bad and I cannot make it profitable, then I have to protect the rest of the company and I will not do it.

"We have an alternative to Ellesmere Port."

The recent appointment of Boris Johnson as the UK’s Prime Minister seems to have increased the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit, a route which could put serious pressure under the motoring industry as a whole. While PSA admits that contingencies are in place for a ‘no-deal’ exit from Europe, the decision to continue the next generation of Astra at Ellesmere Port was very much dependent on a negotiated Brexit settlement.

Tavares admits that issues at the UK’s ports could lead to problems for exports and imports of parts, saying:  "We need visibility on customs for parts coming from continental Europe or from the rest of the world, and we need visibility on the customs for cars coming out of the UK to continental Europe.

"Those are the only things we need – everything else we’ll take care of."

Vauxhall produced close to 80,000 vehicles at Ellesmere Port in 2018.