Vauxhall chief warns of Brexit threat to Ellesmere Port

The head of Vauxhall has said lack of clarity over Brexit threatens the future of its Ellesmere Port operation. Carlos Tavares, chief executive of PSA which owns Vauxhall, Peugeot and Citroen, said clarity over the terms of the UK’s departure is “a big concern”. He told the BBC that uncertainty undermined Ellesmere Port’s chances of getting more work after 2021. He said:

We cannot invest in a world of uncertainty. No one is going to make huge investments without knowing what will be the final competitiveness of the Brexit outcome.”

Speaking to the BBC’s International Business Correspondent Theo Leggett at the Geneva Motor Show he said the decision on whether or not to give Ellesmere more work will need to be taken “very soon”. He added: “I would like to praise our UK people in terms of their efficiency, but at the same time we need clarity. This is not a problem for the PSA Group, this is a problem for the whole UK automotive industry.” The company said last year it was committed to keep making the Astra at Ellesmere Port, but it has also said that manufacturing costs at Ellesmere were higher than other plants it owned. However, it said this month that it was cutting another 250 jobs at its Ellesmere Port car plant on top of the 400 cuts it announced in October. Vauxhall employs about 4,500 people in the UK, with about 1,800 at Ellesmere Port. The company also has a factory at Luton, which makes vans. In August last year, PSA became Europe’s second-biggest carmaker after Volkswagen when it completed the purchase of Vauxhall and German brand Opel from General Motors.