Brexit deal crucial to continued Ellesmere production, PSA reiterates
Unfavourable Brexit conditions could see Vauxhall parent PSA ship Astra production out of the UK, the firm has warned again.
“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,” Tavares told the FT.
“We have an alternative to Ellesmere Port.”
His comments come as concerns mount over the impact of a no-deal Brexit as new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, ramps up plans for such a scenario. Earlier today, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said neither the UK and the EU were ready for a no-deal Brexit while last week saw the SMMT warn the PM that it was “simply not an option”.
Although the current Astra, which is mid lifecycle, is built at Ellesmere and Gliwice, Vauxhall’s parent firm said in June that it was planning production of the next-gen version for both the Russelsheim plant and Ellesmere Port.
However, it added, the decision on the allocation to the Ellesmere Port plant will be “conditional on the final terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union and the acceptance of the New Vehicle Agreement, which has been negotiated with the Unite Trade Union” – putting the focus on ensuring a Brexit deal.
Car workers union Unite has responded to the latest PSA comments, saying its members would fight ‘tooth and nail’ to safeguard Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant and urging Boris Johnson’s government to take a no deal Brexit off the table.
Assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “Vauxhall is great British brand with a fantastic, efficient workforce. Unite has been in positive discussions with PSA about a new vehicle agreement and securing new models for Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant.
“All that hard work is now hanging by a thread as Boris Johnson and his government of hard Brexiteers play no deal roulette with the livelihoods of thousands of Vauxhall workers and their colleagues in the supply chain.
“A no deal Brexit, or a deal that throws up barriers and tariffs would be catastrophic for Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port workers and the UK car industry and make plants inefficient, components less attractive and cars built in the UK more expensive for export.”