The €2.2bn takeover of GM’s loss-making Vauxhall-Opel business by France’s PSA, the maker of Peugeot and Citroën, “should be welcomed”, says the Financial Times. Selling “clearly makes sense” for GM – the last time Vauxhall-Opel made a profit was in 1999. PSA hopes to return it to profit by 2026.
But, while there are certainly “advantages in scale” and scope for “big savings” for PSA, says the FT, it is “hard to see” how it can deliver annual savings of €1.7bn “without cutting jobs”.
PSA has been playing down the fears of job losses. Carlos Tavares, PSA’s chief executive, has been on a “charm offensive”, says Julia Kollewe in The Guardian, meeting politicians and union officials. He has “vowed to turn Opel and Vauxhall around without factory closures or job cuts”.
PSA has said it will respect existing labour agreements, but it is likely to “set Europe-wide targets for efficiency and rank plants against them”, says the FT. “The threat is implicit.” As for the Vauxhall plants in the UK, which employ some 4,500 people, Tavares claims a hard Brexit might encourage PSA to keep them open to develop a UK-based supply chain, says Alistair Osborne in The Times. Yet he is “already negotiating” for a large cheque to save the plants. He has promised to continue production at Ellesmere Port until 2021 and Luton until 2025. “But after that? Who knows?”