When news first broke that General Motors was negotiating the sale of its Opel division to French automaker PSA Group, initial signs suggested that the Opel’s four plants in Germany were safe from potential closures or job cuts by its new owner in the near future. This has now been confirmed, as PSA chief executive Carlos Tavares provided job and investment guarantees surrounding German Opel facilities to Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel during a phone call earlier this week.
Tavares also confirmed during the call that Opel would remain an independent firm in the merged company.
“PSA Chief (Carlos) Tavares stressed that both companies would complement each other well,” said Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for Ms. Merkel. “He stressed to the chancellor that PSA would preserve the independence of Opel in a merged company and would give plant, investment and job guarantees,” Seibert added.
If the sale of Opel to PSA is finalized, existing Opel-Vauxhall plants are at risk of being shut down and workers laid off as the French automaker looks to cut costs by improving economies of scale. Meanwhile, the ability to retain existing jobs in Germany or add new ones is of high importance to Merkel, who is seeking fourth term re-election as Germany’s Chancellor. Of the 38,000 people employed by GM Europe, roughly half are employed in Germany.
GM and PSA are reportedly aiming to wrap up negotiations and officially announce a deal before the start of the Geneva Auto Show, which kicks off March 8.