LONDON (Reuters) - British business minister Greg Clark said he had been reassured by General Motors (GM.N) that the firm did not intend to “rationalize” its Vauxhall operations in the UK, after meeting with GM’s president Dan Ammann to discuss GM’s plan to sell its European subsidiary to France’s PSA (PEUP.PA).
Plans for GM to sell the Opel and Vauxhall business to the maker of Peugeot and Citroen cars have set political alarm bells ringing in Britain and Germany, where there are fears that a sale could lead to heavy job losses.
But Clark said he had held constructive talks with GM on Thursday.
“There is some way to go in discussions between GM and PSA but I was reassured by GM’s intention, communicated to me, to build on the success of these operations rather than rationalize them,” Clark said in a statement. “We will continue to be in close contact with GM and PSA in the days and weeks ahead.”
PSA and GM both mobilized their chief executives on Wednesday to defend the planned acquisition against a wave of criticism from trade unions, fearing the deal could be derailed even before its terms are finalised.
PSA and GM have declined to say what cuts they would make to jobs, plants, production capacity or research and development under the deal being discussed. Of GM Europe’s roughly 38,000 staff, about 19,000 are in Germany and 4,500 in Britain.
Reporting by William James and Kate Holton; editing by William Schomberg, Greg Mahlich