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Mary Barra, chief executive of GM, told a press conference in Paris the disposal of the lossmaking Opel and Vauxhall brands had been a “difficult decision for General Motors”.

Following news that PSA, the owner of Peugeot, would buy the divisions, Ms Barra said the two companies had made strong progress before the deal.

They’ve significantly strengthened their brands, brought outstanding cars to the market and made important advancements in technology. Their financial results have improved dramatically.

It’s clear the team would have hit the goal to break even in 2016 had it not been for Brexit.

But she added: “key fundamental shifts in the European market during the past 12 months from changes in customer preferences to geopolitical and regulatory environments to the impact of technology” meant the company had to make “thoughtful and disciplined decision making about our future”.

The deal will enable GM to “unlock $2bn in capital” by boosting cash flows and margins and cutting balance-sheet risk, she said.

UK business secretary Greg Clark said:

Vauxhall has a long history of success in this country and we are determined to see that continue. The Government welcomes the assurance by PSA that they will respect the commitments made by GM to Vauxhall’s employees and pensioners. We will continue to engage and work with PSA in the weeks and months ahead to ensure these assurances are kept and will build on the success of both sites for the long term.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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