Theresa May to meet with Peugeot boss to discuss proposed Vauxhall acquisition

British prime minister Theresa May is set to meet with the chief executive of PSA Group to discuss its proposals to take over General Motors European arm, which includes British affiliate Vauxhall.

French car manufacturer PSA, the owner of Peugeot and Citroen, has confirmed it’s exploring a possible acquisition of General Motors’ European Opel division, a deal that could affect workers at Vauxhall’s plants in Luton and Ellesmere Port.

Peugeot and Citroen owner explores merger with Vauxhall

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Concerned for the future of Vauxhall – which employs over 4,500 staff in the UK – business secretary Greg Clark has met with GM officials and reportedly been reassured that UK plants will not be rationalised in any merger.

PM to meet with PSA

Theresa May has also responded positively to a request from PSA to meet with her to discuss the proposed plan. A government spokesman said: “We can confirm we have received a meeting request. The meeting will take place, in principle, subject to diary availability.”

Clark said in a statement: “There is some way to go in discussions between GM and PSA but I was reassured by GM’s intention, communicated to me, to build on the success of these operations rather than rationalise them.

“Vauxhall future secure”

The two companies have worked together since PSA acquired a smaller stake in GM’s European operations which has resulted in several joint projects, most recently in the form of platform-sharing between the upcoming Citroen C3 Picasso and Vauxhall Crossland X.

If PSA was to buy Opel in its entirety, the conglomerate would account for 16% of all cars sold in Europe, making it the second-largest manufacturer by volume after Volkswagen Group.

GM owns Opel-Vauxhall, and PSA Group owns Peugeot, Citroen and DS

Clarifying its position earlier this week, PSA Group said: “General Motors and PSA Group regularly examine additional expansion and cooperation possibilities. PSA Group confirms that, together with General Motors, it is exploring numerous strategic initiatives […] including a potential acquisition of Opel.”

“There can be no assurance that an agreement will be reached,” it added.

General Motors has attempted to sell Opel-Vauxhall before, notably after the financial crisis in 2009, when it terminated or sold many of its loss-making brands, including the ill-fated Saab brand. We’ll have to wait and see if a deal will be struck this time…

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