THE car industry was given a much-needed boost yesterday when Vauxhall announced a £189m investment plan as efforts continued to save Rover from closure.
Vauxhall will create 500 new jobs as part of its move to boost productivity at its factories in Luton and Ellesmere Port.
Chairman Nick Reilly said that despite the high level of the pound, which continued to put a “substantial strain” on business, the UK was still a good place to manufacture.
The announcement was warmly welcomed by Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers who has been facing criticism over his handling of the Rover crisis.
The Phoenix consortium hoping to buy Rover from BMW continued to finalise its plans yesterday ahead of a further expected meeting with the German firm.
John Towers, the former Rover executive heading the consortium, visited the Longbridge factory in Birmingham as he pieced together details of his proposals.
The wife and young son of a Rover worker met Tony Blair to urge him to support the Phoenix consortium.
Gemma Cartwright, 23, of Birmingham, and her 22-month-old son Pearce joined West Midlands MPs at 10 Downing Street to deliver their message to Mr Blair.
Mrs Cartwright, whose 36-year-old husband Andrew has worked at Longbridge for 11 years, told the Prime Minister that although his new child would have a bright future, her own son’s outlook was less certain.
She said, “I asked what future my child has and he [Mr Blair] said ‘Hopefully a positive one’.