Another Carlos, another car plant threatened, another reassurance offered...

Another Carlos, another car plant threatened, another reassurance offered...

PSA chief Carlos Tavares will meet with UK prime minister Theresa May to discuss the planned acquisition of General Motors' Opel/Vauxhall operations as fears rise over the implications of a deal for the company's two British Vauxhall plants.

The Peugeot boss will also meet with the leader of the Unite labour union, Len McCluskey.

"My immediate priority now is to understand where Peugeot is now in this process, which is why I am contacting the CEO of the company, Carlos Tavares, to request urgent talks," McCluskey said in a statement.

The possible merger of PSA with GM's loss-making European operations raises the issue of long-term plant rationalisation to reduce cost. The situation is further complicated by Brexit and concerns that UK plants are disadvantaged by uncertainties over future UK-EU trading arrangements - that could see costs on trade between the UK and EU increase. In addition, currency movements since June have tipped GM's European operations into loss. Previously, GM in Europe had been heading for breakeven.

The Financial Times reported at the weekend that British business minister Greg Clark has offered PSA similar guarantees on EU access and supply chains to those given to Nissan last year.

Opel/Vauxhall operates two vehicle manufacturing plants in the UK: Ellesmere Port (near Liverpool in the north of England) and Luton (around 30 miles north of London).

The Ellesmere Port Vauxhall plant that serves as Opel/Vauxhall's lead European plant for Astra production is seen as especially vulnerable because 88% of its output is exported  - most of that to European markets - while it also imports major components from EU-based plants. Any increased costs on trade with the EU would adversely impact its competitive position. Opel also makes Astras at a plant in Poland.

The Luton plant builds multiple variants of the Vivaro light commercial vehicle, with 60% of output exported.

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