LONDON Britain has offered Peugeot manufacturer PSA Group (PEUP.PA) assurances on post-Brexit trade and supply chains in an attempt to protect Vauxhall car plants after a possible takeover, the Financial Times reported on Saturday.
Business minister Greg Clark met French politicians and PSA executives in Paris on Thursday to discuss their plan to buy General Motors’ (GM.N) European unit, Opel, which include Vauxhall plants in Britain.
The talks have set political alarm bells ringing in Britain and Germany, where there are fears that a sale to the French company could lead to heavy job losses.
Clark said on Friday, after the meeting, that PSA executives had “stressed that they valued highly the enduring strength of the Vauxhall brand, underpinned by its committed workforce”.
The FT reported on Saturday, citing a person with knowledge of the meeting, that Clark had also made commitments similar to those he gave Nissan (7201.T) last year before it announced it would build two new models in Britain.
Clark promised Nissan that he would ensure more car part suppliers were based in Britain, support training and research into electric and low-emission vehicles, and push for “free and unencumbered” access to European Union markets for carmakers after Britain leaves the EU.
The government has declined to give exact details of its promises to Nissan, citing commercial confidentiality, though government auditors who saw the letter said it did not make the government liable for Brexit-related costs incurred by Nissan.
Britain’s business ministry declined to comment on Saturday on whether Clark had made similar commitments to PSA.
The FT quoted Clark as saying that he and PSA executives had “talked generally about our commitments and enthusiasm for research in electric vehicles and batteries”, but added that the minister did not give further detail.
(Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Helen Popper)