An announcement about the future of Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port factory is expected to be made today (Feb 25).
Talks to save it ended without a board agreement by parent company Stellantis yesterday but the discussions were continuing, reported the BBC.
The Cheshire plant’s future has been in doubt for a while, with the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars being a major reason why the factory’s future looks so bleak.
Speculation has been mounting since Vauxhall’s French parent company PSA merged with Fiat Chrysler to form new automotive superpower Stellantis last month, which has been reviewing its options for plants including Ellesmere Port, and
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng and government officials met parent company Stellantis’s management plus council officials on Monday.
The BBC says there are believed to be three options:
- Continue manufacturing internal combustion engines until 2030
- Plan the winding-down of the plant
- Commit to making EVs at the plant
The third one would depend on enough battery production.
The plant employs more than 1,000 people and there are many others in the supply chain.
Stellantis chief executive Carlos Tavares recently condemned what he called the ‘brutal’ decision to bring the ban forward to 2030.
He was reported as saying that the plant’s future hinged on where Stellantis opted to make the next generation of EVs and that it relied on support by the UK government.
Tavares told a press conference that governments can ‘create situations which destroy the business model’.
He added: ‘If we are told that in 2030 internal combustion engines cannot be sold in the UK – which we respect as a decision from the country – then we are not going to invest in internal combustion engines any more because that makes no sense.’
Analysts believe any decision will show if the government is serious about battery power, and green technology, which needs money ploughed into giga plants for batteries.
Union officials say the UK needs at least seven battery plants to cope with the rising switch to EV technology.
Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband said: ‘The Ellesmere Port plant is a major employer and winding it down would have devastating consequences, with 1,000 highly skilled jobs lost from the local community.’
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