Vauxhall’s new parent company, PSA Group, has confirmed that it will continue building vans at its Luton factory. Carlos Tavares, PSA’s Chairman, announced that the company would be investing heavily in the factory and that the UK Government would be contributing around £9m to the deal. Although PSA hasn’t confirmed what it’s spending on Luton, it’s thought to be more than £100m in the first instance.
The decision to build the next Vivaro van at Luton is good news, but not unexpected. PSA sold a record 476,500 LCVs in 2017, which is an increase of 15% on 2016, and adding in passenger car derivatives (the Citroën SpaceTourer and Peugeot Traveller), the Group sold 658,000 units during the same period. More capacity in the UK, and Vauxhall’s strong market position make this a logical business decision.
The move will calm the fears of so-called Remainers, as the continued Vauxhall production takes place despite what Tavares describes as Brexit uncertainties.
Good news for Luton’s workforce
The deal secures the jobs of the 1400-strong workforce beyond 2030 and confirms that PSA is committed to the future of both Vauxhall and Opel, with a forward model plan that will see an accelerated move to the French company’s platforms for all models.
Vauxhall says tha,t once up to speed, Luton production will increase from the current level of 60,000 Opel/Vauxhall Vivaros per year to something around 100,000 vans based on PSA Group’s EMP2 platform. Expect the a PSA-based Vivaro to roll out of Luton in 2019, once the current Renault-based model is phased out.
According to a statement issued by Vauxhall, ‘the investment in Luton is driven through a performance plan negotiated between the Unite Trade Union and the Luton plant, combined with its recognised know-how in the manufacture of light commercial vehicles and the flexibility of its existing paint shop. With this initiative, the EMP2 platform for LCV will be localised by mid-2019, as part of the convergence on PSA Group technology.’