GM’s Latest Talks Have Landed the Automaker in Political Fire

February 17, 2017, 8:50 AM UTC
Opel Automobile Showrooms As PSA Group In Talks To Buy General Motors Co. European Business
A badge sits on a new Opel Astra automobile, manufactured by General Motors Co., as it stands outside an Opel dealership in Berlin, Germany, on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. PSA Group's proposal to buy General Motors' Opel brand quickly ran into headwinds in Germany, with political and labor leaders vowing to protect jobs and the unit's manufacturing footprint in the country. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bosses at the Peugeot-maker (PUGOY) PSA Group have told the British government they would seek to build on the strengths of the Vauxhall car business if they succeed in buying its parent company, Opel.

Britain’s Business minister Greg Clark went to Paris on Thursday evening to meet French politicians and PSA executives to discuss their plan to buy the European operations of General Motors, Opel, which include the Vauxhall plants in Britain.

The talks have set political alarm bells ringing in Britain and Germany, where there are fears that a sale could lead to heavy job losses at the two businesses.

In a short statement Clark said the PSA executives had “stressed that they valued highly the enduring strength of the Vauxhall brand, underpinned by its committed workforce.”

“While discussions are still ongoing, they made clear to me that in any deal these were strengths they would wish to build on,” he said. Clark had previously contacted GM President Dan Ammann to express concern over the future of Opel’s UK plants.

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Clark said on Thursday he had been reassured by General Motors (GM) that the firm did not intend to “rationalize” its Vauxhall operations in Britain.

Germany expects the proposed acquisition to go ahead, a German minister said on Thursday.