The parent company of Vauxhall and the British Government have been in talks about the future of Ellesmere Port car assembly plant.
Britain is “very hopeful” that a good outcome can be found for the Astra assembly plant and its 1,000 workers, including 300 from Wales.
British business minister Kwasi Kwarteng said there had been encouraging signs from PSA Group, which includes Vauxhall, and its parent Stellantis, the fourth biggest car conglomerate in the world. A Stellantis spokesman said they had nothing to add.
The future of the plant has been in doubt as Stellantis carried out a global review of their operations with regard to future electrification of models and the impact of possible trade tariffs as well as the cost of re-engineering the plant close to Liverpool.
PSA Group said last year it wanted to keep open the Ellesmere Port plant, by making the new Opel/Vauxhall Astra there, but that would depend on the outcome of Britain’s departure from the European Union. Since then, London and Brussels agreed a tariff-free deal dependent on local content levels, PSA merged with Fiat Chrysler to form Stellantis and a UK plan to end the sale of new combustion-engine-only cars was brought forward to 2030.
In January, CEO Carlos Tavares suggested the 2030 decision effectively stopped future investment in conventional vehicles in Britain and that he was weighing whether to build electric cars.
Now the car maker is looking for an “eventual binding commitment” of support from the government.
Kwarteng said an “intensive dialogue” would continue over the coming days and weeks. “I am very hopeful that we can reach a satisfactory conclusion in terms of the continued investment and support for Stellantis,” he told parliament.
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