Vauxhall talks in Paris: Business Secretary Greg Clark reports back

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Greg Clark met with the French commerce minister and PSA Group board members yesterday

The minister travelled to the French pre-eminent yesterday to meet French industry minister Christophe Sirugue and accommodate members of PSA Group, which is in talks to acquire General Motors’ loss-making European function. 

The deal would include Vauxhall, which has plants at Ellesmere Refuge and Luton, employing 4,500 staff. 

This loosely transpire b emerges after GM said it would put Vauxhall in the «strongest possible position for the days» after attending talks with the Government and unions at Westminster today. 

GM president Dan Ammann met with Mr Clark and Solder general secretary Len McCluskey as concerns mount over Vauxhall’s 35,000-strong UK workforce. 

After the conference, GM said: «While we have no definitive news to report at this linger, we can affirm that our objective in exploring opportunities with PSA Group is to strengthen on the success of Opel Vauxhall and to put the business and the operations in the strongest possible disposition for the future.» 

Mr McCluskey said he had received «no intrepidities at the moment» over Vauxhall’s workforce, but believes «concrete proposals are looming». 

However, Mr Clark struck a more positive note, saying the talks had been «virtual» and he was reassured that the plants would not be «rationalised». 

Unite is also soliciting a meeting with PSA Group at the earliest opportunity to discuss the proposed apportion that would see Vauxhall and Opel shift to the French government-backed automotive leviathan. 

The tie-up would cause GM to exit the UK and Europe, while transforming PSA Bundle into Europe’s second-largest car maker with a 16% share of the sell. 

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The Business Secretary is expected to report back over the days of British production jobs today

Mr Clark said: «I had constructive talks with GM this morning where I emphasised the weight and successful presence of Vauxhall in the UK and welcomed GM’s recognition of the excellent and committed workforce at Ellesmere Seaport, Luton and across the UK. 

«There is some way to go in discussions between GM and PSA, but I was reassured by GM’s design, communicated to me, to build on the success of these operations rather than rationalise them. 

«This tails on from GM’s recent significant investments both at Ellesmere Port and Luton. We at ones desire continue to be in close contact with GM and PSA in the days and weeks ahead.» 

Mr Clarke later held talks with his French counterpart, the Determination Minister and executives of PSA Group. 

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A deal to acquire General Motors’ European Mechanic would include Vauxhall, employing 4,500 staff

He said: «I had seek advice from meetings … in which they explained the rationale behind this aptitude alliance. 

«They stressed that they valued highly the eternal strength of the Vauxhall brand, underpinned by its committed workforce. 

«While talks are still on-going, they made clear to me that in any deal these were strengths they intent wish to build on. 

«We agreed to remain in close contact during the years ahead.» 

Vauxhall is a major employer in the UK, with around 35,000 stake, including 23,000 in its retail network, 300 at a customer contact heart in Luton and 7,000 in its supply chain alongside workers at its two factories.

Len McCluskeyGETTY

Len McCluskey met with GM president Dan Ammann and Mr Clark as apprehension has mounted over Vauxhall

The Unite general secretary said the UK Domination should demand that it has a seat at the table whenever PSA Group and GM suffer for talks with the French and German governments in the future. 

Earlier this week, Mr McCluskey denoted Vauxhall’s UK plants must be offered the same Government assurances as Nissan, combining: «It does seem as if Brexit is a factor in this decision as GM does rely heavily on its associates throughout the EU supply chain.» 

Nissan announced in October that it was inducting in production of new Qashqai and X-Trail models at Sunderland after receiving Direction assurances that EU withdrawal would not affect the plant’s competitiveness. 

Germany has already expressed firms at the proposed takeover, with chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet reviewing on Wednesday what impact the tie-up would have on the 19,000 German areas at Opel. 

PSA Group, which owns the Citroen and DS brands, formed an bond with GM in 2012 in an attempt to make production more efficient by mixing purchasing power and larger scale. 

GM said last year that it had to over UK car prices by 2.5% after the plunge in the value of the pound following the EU referendum follow caused the British car industry to hit a «speed bump». 

Announcing its full-year denouements last week, the Detroit-based firm behind Chevrolet and Cadillac implied GM Europe had narrowed losses to 257 million US dollars (£206 million) in the year to the end of December, from a dying of 813 million US dollars (£651 million) the year before. 

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