PSA commits to Luton van factory from 2019 on

PSA Group have announced they are to produce the new Vauxhall Vivaro van in the Luton plant from 2019, ‘despite Brexit uncertainties’. This comes after the UK government supported the bid to keep the factory with £9 million in funding.

According to PSA, it will be using a new manufacturing platform on the site to optimise manufacturing processes and allow the factory to bid for other vehicle lines as they become available.

The Luton PSA plant produced 60,000 Vivaros in 2017. There are plans to extend output to 100,000 a year. It will be based on the EMP2 platform for LCVs that is due to be localised by mid-2019 as part of the group’s technology convergence programme.

PSA also own Citroen and Peugeot, and when they bought the Vauxhall Opel business from GM last year many expressed fears that UK factory sites would be closed down. PSA however said that the performance plan had been “facilitated by both the responsible social dialogue with the Unite union guaranteeing production flexibility and the support of the United Kingdom Government and Luton Borough Council, despite Brexit uncertainties”.

“Performance is the trigger for sustainability and I would like to thank all stakeholders involved and underline the open mind-set of our union partners, as well as that of the UK Government. This is a major milestone for the future of the Luton plant and a key enabler to serve our ambitions in the commercial vehicle market, guaranteeing customers the best offering in this segment” said PSA chairman Carlos Tavares.

In addition, PSA said: “To foster growth in the financially attractive light commercial vehicle (LCV) business, Opel/Vauxhall will launch new models and enter new markets with the clear goal to increase its LCV sales by 25 per cent by 2020 against 2017.”

One thing of interest here is that there is no battery electric vehicle option on the new Vivaros. This suggests that PSA aren’t making immediate plans to jump the gun on BEV LCVs until forced to under current government plans to ban new diesel and petrol vehicles from 2030.