Hard Brexit to Kill Vauxhall UK Production

PSA Group has chosen Ellesmere Port to continue Vauxhall/Opel Astra production but only if Brexit does not hinder trade.

The good news carrot comes with a huge European Union stick for the Vauxhall plant in the UK’s northwest, ironically a hot-bed of anti-European sentiment that voted largely in favor of leaving the Union in the 2016 referendum.

Since the acquisition of Vauxhall/Opel, PSA has been running efficiency studies on the plant which currently manufactures the brand’s best selling compact vehicle. Unlike the other current Astra plant, Gliwice in Poland, Ellesmere Port has proved itself worthy of retaining the production of the vehicle as it enters the middle of its life cycle. The new second Astra plant will be at Russelsheim in Germany.

However, in a PSA statement, its clear that this success will be short-lived should the UK government fail to secure a good trade agreement should it exit Europe at the end of October. The statement read: “The decision on the allocation to the Ellesmere Port plant will be conditional on the final terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union and the acceptance of the New Vehicle Agreement, which has been negotiated with the Unite Trade Union.”

The news echoes the UK automotive industry’s fear’s over a slump in new car sales that could threaten its place in the race to stay abreast with the latest automotive technological development.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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