Currently reading: PSA Ellesmere Port factory investment will hang on EU trade deal
Boss Carlos Tavares is 'eager to invest' in the Vauxhall plant, but says that tariffs between the UK and the EU could jeopardise his plans

PSA boss Carlos Tavares remains “eager to invest” in Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port factory should a suitable business case be made for it off the back of UK-EU trade deal talks.

However, should tariffs be imposed on cars or car parts then Tavares said the UK government would need to make the investment as it “would not be ethical” for PSA’s employees at profitable factories outside the UK to be paying for an arrears at Ellesmere Port, where the Vauxhall Astra is built, just to keep it running.

To that end, Tavares repeated his call for a free trade deal between the EU and UK. “If conditions of trade are positive, and there are no tariffs, then most of the investment would be made by PSA,” he said. “We don’t want to be a burden and want to bring wealth and value. But it is fair to ask the UK to create the business for this to fly.”

Tavares said PSA “respected and loved” its workers at Ellesmere Port, “but it was also time for the UK government to respect and love its people and support them. We’re trying to support them, and we’re really crossing fingers for good sense to prevail”.

A decision on whether or not Ellesmere Port will be one of two PSA plants to build the next-generation Astra hinges on the outcome of these trade talks.

Tavares said he was very happy with the overall performance of the Opel/Vauxhall business, and it had generated €1.1billion of profits last year at a margin of 6.5%. “I express thanks to and appreciate the efforts of all Vauxhall employees,” said Tavares.

On PSA’s wider production in general, Tavares said he hoped the firms plants in China could reopen on March 11 following government clearance after shutdowns caused by the coronavirus. For its European operations, some 300 of its 8000 suppliers come from China, and Tavares said that the firm was “looking at alternatives and so far have been successful”.

While production was holding up, keeping up consumer confidence to ensure demand remains would be the next phase of what the coronavirus brings, said Tavares.


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Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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Ski Kid 4 March 2020



Ski Kid 4 March 2020

stop buying Eu cars until theer is a decent trade agreement

Yep we should vote with out feet and take charge and be in the driving seat for once. If there is nothing favourable, duty should be significant and a high prioportion of the duty should be invested in a Uk manufacturing fund for onshoring.

Aidan 3 March 2020


The bottom line is that the UK has the upper hand in trade talks and potential car import tariff's.  In 2017 the UK exported 800,000 cars to the EU compared to 2.3 million from the EU to the UK and that gap has increased over the last 2 years in the EU's favour ( sadly UK car buyers are not as patriotic as other car building countries even with locally produced models from foreign car makers )  , consequently the EU, especially Germany, will be far worse off if there is a 10% surcharge each way , as some have said this scenario could create thousands of jobs by making the most popular EU cars in the UK for the domestic market avoiding extra taxes !.

Pietro Cavolonero 6 March 2020

Time to be spiteful!

As an independent country we should toughen up! For every UK plant closure by BMW, PSA etc then a doubling of tariffs should apply, Cowley closes then your MINI, 3 series etc will cost a whole lot more. Goodbye Ellesmere Port, hello hideously expensive Citroens.