Automotive News, August 2019


The chief executive of Vauxhall-owner PSA says it could move all production from its Ellesmere Port factory if Brexit makes it unprofitable. Carlos Tavares has said that the carmaker has alternatives to the plant which it could use. The move would probably lead to the closure of the site, threatening 1,000 jobs. That would leave Vauxhall’s Luton-based van plant as its last presence in the UK.

In June, the carmaker announced plans to manufacture the next generation of the Astra, its bestselling car, in Ellesmere Port and another factory in Germany.

In an official statement, PSA later confirmed the group was still looking to manufacture the next-generation Astra at Russelsheim and Ellesmere Port.

But it warned that the final decision on the role of the Ellesmere Port plant would be conditional on the “final terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union”.

The firm said it would closely monitor political developments and engage with politicians to understand the various potential Brexit outcomes.

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Volvo is recalling almost 70,000 cars in the UK over concerns that they could catch fire. It is part of a global recall of more than half a million diesel vehicles that suffer from a fault.

The Swedish carmaker said that “in very rare cases” a plastic part of the engine can “melt and deform” and in “extreme cases” catch fire.

Volvo said it was contacting all customers whose vehicles are affected to alert them to the issue. Drivers are being told it is “safe to continue to use your car” if it does not show any signs of a problem, such as an engine warning light illuminating, a lack of power or an “unusual smell”.

A second letter will be sent confirming when a solution to the problem is available. Volvo said it notified the relevant authorities about the issue “as soon as it was identified”.

It apologised to customers for the inconvenience caused, stating that it is taking “full responsibility to ensure the highest quality and safety standards of our cars”.

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BMW has given a boost to the UK car industry by confirming that the production of its new electric Mini will start in Cowley in November. Deliveries of the brand’s first fully electric car will start in March 2020.

When asked if that meant the company would still be producing cars in the country in 10 years’ time, he said: “It is impossible to see that far ahead.

The new bit of the electric Mini – the drivetrain – will be produced in Dingolfing in Bavaria, before being brought to Cowley to be added into the car.

The news comes after announcements this year about Ford proposing to close its plant in Bridgend and Honda revealing plans to shut its plant in Swindon, with the loss of about 3,500 jobs.

BMW originally announced that Cowley would be the production base for the car in the summer of 2017.

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 Aston Martin Lagonda suffered a second dreadful day on the stock market earlier this month, with an 18% fall in its share price following the previous days’ 26% drop. In excess of £900m has been wiped off the value of the luxury car manufacturer in just two days.

It continues a car crash of a first year as a public company, since it floated last October. Its 1900p-per-share IPO raised more than £1bn and valued the Gaydon-based manufacturer at £4.33bn in one of the biggest UK IPOs of the year.

After less than 10 months as a public company, its market value was just £1.44bn. Investors have taken fright in recent weeks after Aston Martin revealed that not only would it miss its target of selling 10% more vehicles than last year, but that it is likely to sell fewer than it did in 2018.

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