The move delivers a fresh blow to the embattled British economy following Nissan’s production cuts at its Sunderland plant and Ford’s shutdown at its plant in Brigend, South Wales, among others.
UK automaker Vauxhall has launched plans to shutter production at its Ellesmere Port site, threatening nearly 1,000 jobs across the UK, the Financial Times has reported.
French conglomerate PSA Groupe has said that it plans to move production of its Astra and Opel Astra models to a Southern European country if trade tariffs between the UK and EU become too high, despite achieving high profitability in its first quarter (Q1) earnings results.
“Frankly I would prefer to put it in Ellesmere Port,” Carlos Tavares, PSA chief Executive, told the Financial Times, stating that if conditions worsened and he could not keep the company profitable, the he would “have to protect the rest of the company and I will not do it”.
“We have an alternative to Ellesmere Port,” he said, adding that Vauxhall needed “visibility on what is going to happen in October”.
Workers at the company’s Chesire plant have already been hit by three waves of redundancies over the last three years, with the latest move adding additional troubles for the company, the FT report said. The news comes as numerous carmarkers such as Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, Nissan, BMW and others have scaled back production of their vehicles across Britain.
Mr Tavares made the statements shortly the newly appointed UK cabinet said that it planned to place 10.6 percent tariffs on fully furnished vehicles after the 31 October deadline, in addition to the UK Society of Motor Manufacturers and traders stating in an open letter to UK prime minister Boris Johnson that a no-deal Brexit poses an “existential risk” to the British economy.
Despite previous statements that there was a “million to one chance” of leaving on a no-deal Brexit, Mr Johnson will announce later this week a £1bn boost for no deal preparations, as well as embarking on a tour to Britain’s four nations—England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales—in order prevent the Union from dissolving.
Mr Johnson has plans to talk with Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, both whom have stated they will not accept a hard Brexit.
Mr Johnson has also launched a massive campaign to win over Brits with public adverts on radio, television and billboards, as well as distributing leaflets, the Telegraph reported on Sunday. The UK government has planned to spend around £100m on the campaign over the next three months, the Telegraph said citing government sources.
But Labour and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn slammed the Prime Minister for having “no plan” for the UK, as well as staking the future of the UK on a “sweetheart deal” with US president Donald Trump.
The news follows Japanese automaker Nissan’s announcement that its 2019 first quarter sales had collapse 94.5 percent, the worst in 10 years, and that the company would restructure its operations be slashing 12,500 jobs and shedding 10 percent of global production by 2022. Nissan added that it would cease production of its X-Trail models at its Sunderland plant in northeast UK, citing Brexit fears and reduced diesel model sales, putting 5,000 jobs at stake.
Other companies such as Jaguar Land Rover, Ford and BMW have begun their own restructuring programmes, with the first two cutting up to 7,200 job between them and either moving or threatening to move production abroad.