Magna the cat that gets the cream

Posted on 10 Sep 2009 by The Manufacturer

The ongoing speculation over the future ownership of Vauxhall has ended with the marque being sold, along with German sister brand Opel, to the Russian-backed Canadian car parts maker Magna.

Reports earlier today suggested a two-day meeting of General Motors executives in Detroit had ended with a turnaround decision not to sell the European arm amid fears it would rise to compete with the US firm.

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced this afternoon that Magna had in fact won the race to buy Opel and Vauxhall ahead of its main competitor, the Belgian based private equity firm RHJ Holdings. GM is now expected to confirm the deal itself in a statement due imminently.

The 5,500 Vauxhall workers in Britain must now wait for an update from Magna regarding its vision for production on these shores.

“The uncertainty surrounding the ownership of Vauxhall is now over, but the uncertainty surrounding the long term future of Britain’s plants will continue,” said Unite joint general secretary Tony Woodley.

“Nevertheless, with Magna as the new owner, we need to make sure that British plants and people are not treated disproportionately during the re-structuring that will take place.

“With that in mind, the union and the government will no doubt continue to negotiate with Magna. We expect financial support from the UK government for Magna to be dependent on the job and plant commitments given by the company.”

Business Minister Pat McFadden says the UK government has assurances from Magna that it intends to continue production at both the Luton and Ellesmere Port plants in Britain. “we will work to make sure we get the best possible outcome for the UK,” he said.