Last week, U.K.’s business secretary Vince Cable held a meeting with General Motors CEO Dan Akerson and Vice-Chairman Steve Girsky in New York urging The General to make a long-term commitment to the UK. The meeting was prompted by leaked information that GM was considering closing the British Ellesmere Port Plant in order to decrease production capacity and reduce costs.
According to sources familiar with the meeting, Cable made a case for saving the manufacturing facility from a shutdown, which would result in the loss of 2,800 jobs in the area. Additionally, the British business chief drew on examples that included Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan, and BMW — all of which made long-term commitments to Britain over the last several months by announcing multimillion dollar investments. According to several reports, automotive investments in the country have been worth over $4 billion in the last 18 months.
General Motors is looking to greatly reduce manufacturing capacity in Western Europe by approximately 400,000 vehicles, which amounts to the output of nearly two plants. So far, the Ellesmere Port plant and Germany’s Bochum facility are being considered for closure.
While Akerson and Girsky were reportedly receptive to the case being made by Mr. Cable, the duo didn’t make a decision on the spot. The GM executives were, however, pleased by the fact that Cable made the trip to New York. Ellesemere Port currently produces the Opel and Vauxhall Astra range.