FRANCE: PSA denies Sarkozy-Varin meeting as Aulnay rumours refuse to disappear
PSA Peugeot Citroen is denying any meeting has taken place between CEO Philippe Varin and French President Nicolas Sarkozy as rumours continue to circulate as to the future of the automaker's Aulnay plant near Paris.
The site, which produces PSA's C3 model, has been the subject of considerable speculation with its possible closure mooted in an internal report by the manufacturer last year and leaked by the CGT union.
However, widespread reports in France indicate Sarkozy - just ten days away from the first round of Presidential elections - has summoned Varin to his headquarters of the Elysée Palace in Paris for urgent talks surrounding the plant.
"Monsieur Varin has not seen him [Sarkozy] yesterday, there has not been a meeting," a PSA spokesman told just-auto from France. [PSA] is a private business. We are always ready to discuss with the State, but we are a private business.
"Nothing is happening particularly at Aulnay. The factory produces the C3 and we have said up to 2014 the factory will continue to produce the C3 - after that we have no comment to make - 2014 is already far away. Like all constructors, we don't comment on plans in advance."
Contacted by just-auto, the Elysée Palace said it had fielded "a lot of questions" but noted it had not seen anything official concerning any meeting between the President and the PSA CEO.
Automotive jobs have soared to the top of the French Presidential election agenda, with manufacturers and suppliers courted by most parties.
However, the Europe-wide problem of over-capacity refuses to disappear with Aulnay alone losing 1,500 jobs since 2004.
Varin has also emphasised a reduction of production capacity for the group is unavoidable.
The CGT union was not immediately available for comment.