No plans to shut Vauxhall plants says Peugeot boss 0

No-plans-to-shut-Vauxhall-plants-says-Peugeot-bossThe chief executive of Peugeot, Carlos Tavares, has said the PSA group has no plans to close any Vauxhall or Opel plants following his company’s acquisition of the brands.

Instead, he wants to “unleash [their] potential” by exporting the cars outside of Europe, he said in a recent interview with the BBC.

General Motors, who owned both brands up until the recent takeover, did not export the vehicles outside Europe.

Tavares believes the merger will make both Vauxhall and Opel more efficient.

PSA, the parent company of Peugeot, finalised the deal to buy General Motors European operations last month. This led to a raft of speculation about the future of Vauxhall’s operations at its Ellesmere Port and Luton plants.

“We are not talking about shutting down plants. Why? Because, if you look at the situation, look at the PSA Group today, our capacity utilisation rate is 98%.”

He went on to say that Vauxhall was operating at 82% capacity.

“For many, many, years Opel Vauxhall could not export cars outside of Europe, that was something that General Motors didn’t want them to do. PSA is going to unleash this potential, we are going to open the gates” he said.

Mr Tavares said there was a bright outlook for the merged company, suggesting sharing assets and expertise and introducing new internal benchmarking at Opel-Vauxhall would improve performance.

He said that Opel-Vauxhall could have failed last year if it had not been for the fall in the value of sterling following the EU referendum vote.

“If we were to have a hard Brexit… with custom duties and all that stuff, it would be of course an opportunity for us to have UK sourcing.”

“For that we would need the support of the UK government to develop the supplier base in the UK.”

He also indicated that his priority was not negotiating with governments for favourable tax treatment.

“What is striking in Europe… is that everybody is asking for protection,” he said.

“The only honest answer for protection is performance, if you increase your level of performance, you become the best, if you become the best there is no risk.

“We can become better by sharing the best practices, having the best benchmarks inside the company and if we are better, with the export opportunities we have, we can fully use our manufacturing footprint.”

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