April 1, 2009 / 8:03 AM / 11 years ago

GM denies asking for aid for Vauxhall

LONDON (Reuters) - General Motors (GM.N) said it had not approached the government to discuss a 600 million pound aid package for its Vauxhall brand, as the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

New Vauxhall cars stand outside the company's factory in Ellesmere Port, northern England, October 27, 2008. REUTERS/Phil Noble

The FT, quoting Tony Woodley, joint general secretary of trade union Unite, had said Vauxhall’s managing director raised the request with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR).

Troubled U.S. carmaker GM denied it had asked for funds as talks regarding GM Europe (GME) need to be resolved first.

“We’ve been having top level discussions with BERR about the GME viability plans. But we haven’t yet got to the stage of what we need in the UK in terms of support,” said Denis Chick, GM’s director of UK communications.

A spokeswoman for BERR echoed his comment.

“We have had ongoing discussions with companies, but we’ll have to see the plans that they’ve (GME) got,” she said.

A spokeswoman for Unite said the 600 million pound figure attributed to Tony Woodley was likely to have been an estimate for what Vauxhall will eventually need.

In February, GM Europe submitted a rescue plan for German car maker Opel, owned by U.S.-based GM, under which Opel and Vauxhall would be partly spun off into a new subsidiary. It said the independent unit would need 3.3 billion euros (3 billion pounds) in state aid.

“Once that plan in Germany has got down to its fine details ... then we will bring that detailed plan to the UK government and talk about what potential aid we might need in the UK,” Chick said on Wednesday.

The FT’s report followed a call on Monday by U.S. President Barack Obama for GM and Chrysler to accelerate their survival efforts and brace for possible bankruptcy.

Obama said neither company had done enough to justify the taxpayer money they were seeking but he gave GM and Chrysler more time and money to wring further concessions from workers, creditors and other stakeholders.

Reporting by Olesya Dmitracova, Steve Slater and John Bowker; Editing by Dan Lalor and Jon Loades-Carter

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