VAUXHALL Motors has moved to calm fears among its 2,000 staff in Ellesmere Port following speculation of a takeover by Fiat.
And although borough MP Andrew Miller says he is ‘sceptical’ the Italian car giant could afford such a move, he is urging Government ministers to ensure that, whatever happens, UK jobs remain safe.
It emerged this week Fiat was one of several car manufacturers interested in taking a stake in Vauxhall’s owners, General Motors Europe.
Reports suggest while Fiat, whose brands include Ferrari, has pledged to secure the survival of three Opel plants in Germany, it has been silent on the North Road, Ellesmere Port, and Luton sites.
Unite general secretary Tony Woodley, from Little Sutton, warned if plants in Germany are saved by Fiat, closure in Britain would be inevitable.
“One thing we all know, right now there are three plants too many in Europe. The two scheduled for closing were German. If they’re not closing, which plants are?’ he asked.
Dennis Chick, Vauxhall UK spokesman, accepted closures were possible if Fiat was to take over, citing profits and the similarity of Fiat and Vauxhall’s products.
But he stressed Fiat’s bid was one of many currently being considered.
Mr Miller said: “I’m asking ministers to seek assurances that whatever happens with Fiat, we protect UK jobs.
“But I think Fiat doesn’t have the money so there’s scepticism about this happening.
“GM is saying Vauxhall is safe. I favour working with and helping GM to bring about a firm structure (for business).”
On Monday evening, Canadian car parts supplier Magna International said it was also in talks with GM and German government officials about taking a minority stake in Opel-Vauxhall.
GM has been under pressure due to the economic downturn and slump in new car sales.
In February, it presented a restructuring plan to the United States Government that will result in its European division being required to make savings of £850m.
GM faces potential bankruptcy in the US and has until June 1 to restructure.