General Motors Might Stage Its Own Brexit, Says Report

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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general motors might stage its own brexit says report

Britain’s recent vote to leave the European Union could cause General Motors to up and leave the country, industry analysts predict.

Production of Vauxhall and Opel vehicles could shift across the Channel if the EU places import tariffs on vehicles bound from Britain, LMC Automotive said in a report, ending GM’s decades-long presence.

The report judged GM the likeliest of all automakers to leave the UK in the event of a Brexit. Currently, the automaker builds Vauxhall and Opel vehicles at two British assembly plants — Ellesmere Port and Luton, England. If GM pulls up stakes, some assembly would likely be moved to Germany or Poland, the report said.

The Luton plant, which builds commercial Vauxhall vehicles, was recently upgraded and is expected to stay open until 2025. However, the Ellesmere Port plant, which builds Opel and Vauxhall Astras, could be living on borrowed time. LMC said there is a “high” risk of the plant moving to mainland Europe once the next-generation models arrive, possibly by 2021.

Garel Rhys, a professor at the Cardiff Business School, told Automotive News that Ellesmere Port’s problems go beyond vehicle tariffs. The 52-year-old plant relies mostly on imported parts, with locally sourced parts making up only about one-quarter of its inventory.

“It has a low anchorage, so in that sense, it’s the most vulnerable,” Rhys said.

The UK and EU haven’t forged an agreement on what cross-Channel trade will look like, so for now, automakers are playing wait and see.

[Source: Automotive News] [Image: General Motors]

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  • Don1967 Don1967 on Jul 18, 2016

    Speculation about GM's future in the UK is but a tiny drop in the ocean of noise Brexit will generate. The E.U. was not the first international trade deal, nor will it be the last for the British. They are not a people known for rolling over and dying. To the contrary, aren't they the ones who shoved the Magna Carta down their own King's throat when he got a little too pushy? With the E.U. now dictating everything from immigration policy to banana curvature, the analogy fits. Social progressives will naturally disagree. If ever there was a new-world-order mega-government capable of engineering the "perfect society" through brute force, the E.U. was it. Progressives' outrage over Brexit has nothing to do with long-term financial concerns; it's about their prize social experiment beginning to unravel.

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Jul 18, 2016

    I don't know where you guys are getting your opinions, but they're like bellybuttons - everyone has one. Some are innies, some are outies, some are full of lint. With Brexit, the UK has preserved its sovereignty and cut the line to a sinking ship: the dream of European elites that they can forge a "nation" big enough to compete with the US and China. The problem with intellectual elites is that whenever they're in charge, they screw up. In this case, they tried to homogenize the various cultures of the member states in the most bullheaded and counterproductive way possible, with edicts from an unaccountable bureaucracy. Some of you need to study up on economics 101. The Pound's devaluation is a fond wish of the Greeks, Italians, Spanish, and Portuguese, and even the French, but impossible under the Euro. It's the quickest and easiest way for a nation to balance its accounts and remain competitive, by making imports more expensive, and exports cheaper. Brits will pay more for French wine, but British products will be more competitive, preserving and increasing jobs over the long run. As for trade, the UK's trade with Euro partners has been dropping over the years. That will now accelerate. The real loser is Germany, whose exports to the UK are too big to lose. You can expect Merkel to push for some kind of associate status for the UK in trade matters, despite the average Germans' and other north Europeans' desire to stick it to the UK. The German economy can't afford that kind of pettiness.

    • See 19 previous
    • Pch101 Pch101 on Jul 19, 2016

      @Astigmatism In a trade dispute between a market of 65 million and a market of 450 million, the larger of the two is probably going to win.

  • Voyager Voyager on Jul 19, 2016

    What Britain basically wants... more EU countries may want to opt for: back to the ol' common market, but without the Brussels red tape and tendency to stick its nose in everything that used to be decided per country.

    • Astigmatism Astigmatism on Jul 19, 2016

      You can't have the one without the other. Otherwise, how does the market common-ize itself? If you don't have a single body deciding what passenger safety standards will be across the whole region, then manufacturers have to research and comply with two dozen different sets of safety standards, some of which may actively contradict each other. If everything is decided per country, then nothing is common. As others have noted, if the UK is extremely lucky, it will basically end up with the same deal as Norway: still subject to all the regulations and standards issued by the Brussels bureaucrats, but without any say in them. That's literally their best-case scenario right now, other than backtracking on Brexit entirely.

  • Tstag Tstag on Dec 10, 2016

    It would be daft if GM to leave the UK. Firstly it's their biggest market. Secondly there is no way the government will allow the car industry to be damaged by Tarrifs. JLR is now such a massive employer in the U.K. That they can't afford for them to fail.