The bosses of General Motors and Peugeot maker PSA were racing on Wednesday to contain anger in Germany over their plans for PSA to buy GM’s European business Opel. GM Chief Executive Mary Barra visited Opel’s headquarters in Ruesselsheim near Frankfurt, while PSA said its CEO Carlos Tavares planned to meet senior German officials, possibly including Chancellor Angela Merkel, in the near future.
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U.S. carmaker GM and France’s PSA Group caused outrage in Germany on Tuesday by confirming they were in talks that could result in PSA buying GM’s European operations without having consulted Berlin or informed workers.
Opel employs the majority of its workers, about 28,000 people, in Germany. It also has plants in Austria, Hungary, Poland, Spain and Britain, where it uses the Vauxhall brand.
Germany’s labour minister said on Wednesday there were talks “at all levels” with Opel, GM and PSA to ensure that Opel’s three plants in Germany remained open in the event of a sale.
“The German government intensively discussed at a cabinet meeting today the issue of Opel,” Andrea Nahles said after the cabinet meeting.
Separately, Britain’s Department for Business said it was in close contact with GM over the potential deal. GM’s Vauxhall plants employ 4,500 staff near Liverpool, northwest England, and Luton, north of London.