PSA’s €2.2 billion purchase of Opel and Vauxhall is legally and officially complete, which sees the two brands join Peugeot, Citroen and DS in a move that will grow a conglomerate to rival the Volkswagen Group.
For the time being and for several years to come, the overlap between Opel/Vauxhall products and those from the French corner will mean that they are all are stealing sales from each other, but PSA has announced a 100-day period during which it will develop a ‘performance plan’ to generate an overall profit by 2020. That means serious cost-cutting.
Although a Vauxhall spokesman told Autocar that it was “business as usual” at the company’s two UK factories, staff at both Ellesmere Port and Luton will have to endure a sweaty-palmed 100 days while waiting for PSA to give them the thumbs-up… or down.
If the company decides that the idea of two factories in a post-Brexit Britain doesn’t really appeal as part of its cost-cutting measures, the UK could be looking at thousands of job losses despite PSA boss Carlos Tavares’ vague promise that Vauxhall will ‘remain British.’
Last year Opel lost £200 million; a trend that will need to be reversed very quickly. Heavy cuts to management staff are expected, while in the medium term it’s only natural to predict that future Opel and Vauxhall cars will be built on the same production lines as Citroens and Peugeots – making certain factories redundant.
The current GM platforms will only need to be replaced as they end their current life cycles, though. The Astra, which is built at Ellesmere Port, is due for replacement in 2021. The jobs there should be safe until then, at least, but while Tavares has said PSA may not need to close any plants, he won’t rule it out, either…