Select Committee on Trade and Industry Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 360 - 378)



  360. In terms of vehicles?
  (Mr Reilly)In terms of vehicles.

  361. So the new Vectra is part of that process?
  (Mr Reilly) Absolutely.

  362. It means you are producing fewer new Vectras?
  (Mr Reilly) Yes. This single vehicle is mainly coming out of Russelsheim.


  363. How many Vectras do you anticipate in the first couples of years you will be producing in Russelsheim?
  (Mr Reilly) It must be 220, I would guess, something like that.

  364. How many would be built elsewhere—Antwerp or Ellesmere Port?
  (Mr Reilly) About 180; 160 to 180,000.

Mr Chope

  365. I am a little puzzled about the answer you gave to my colleague, Mr Hoyle, about Vauxhall in Luton not being a profit centre. As I understand it, you received about £11 million in Government aid in 1998 for Vauxhall and you also received a local package of support in respect of the situation here in Luton. In order to qualify for that support surely you had to demonstrate to the people who were providing you with this taxpayers' money that it was necessary to have that money in order to be able to make ends meet?
  (Mr Reilly) I am not sure where you got your information from, but we did not receive any money either locally or from central government for Luton in 1998.

  366. So you did not get any help?
  (Mr Reilly) No.

  367. I stand corrected on that.
  (Mr Reilly) There was a proposal locally where we expected to get some but in the end it did not materialise.

  368. Can I refer back to the little pink agreement book which we were referring to earlier? One of your Company Commitments was, "It is intended and planned to build the current Astra throughout its model life and thereafter to source a suitable replacement model at a similar capacity at Ellesmere Port." Are you telling us that part of the agreement is also now torn up?
  (Mr Reilly) No, it is not. It is still intended to replace the Astra at Ellesmere Port.

  369. So notwithstanding the adverse economic environment, the qualification which affected the situation in Luton does not apply to Ellesmere Port?
  (Mr Reilly) It does not apply today but that is obviously in the agreement. It is certainly not expected to.

  370. Are you able to undertake there is going to be continuing Astra van production at Ellesmere Port for the next two to three years, and from 2004 onwards with the new Astra?
  (Mr Reilly) That is certainly expected. If, when you say, "Am I to undertake", you mean "Can I guarantee it", I never say I guarantee anything.

  371. When is the third Astra shift to end at Ellesmere Port?
  (Mr Reilly) That depends largely on whether or not the Vectra replacement goes to Ellesmere Port or not. If it does, it may not end.

  372. Now the Frontera is to remain here at Luton, will extra numbers be laid off or offered the chance to come to Luton?
  (Mr Reilly) As I said, if the Vectra gets into Ellesmere Port there will not be any lay-offs. In fact, even if it does not, if the Vectra went to Antwerp, Ellesmere Port would probably have to build more Astras, in which case there would not be any surplus in the short-term anyway.

  373. When will we know whether the Vectra will go to Ellesmere Port?
  (Mr Reilly) I do not know exactly but probably in the next four to six weeks.

  374. Is that decision dependent upon help from the Government?
  (Mr Reilly) They know that.

  375. They know that and they know they have to come up with the goods prior to that decision being taken. Are you satisfied they are able to do that?
  (Mr Reilly) They have given us some indication they will be able to let us know something before that date, yes. They will obviously have to go through Europe, so it will be contingent on European Commission approval, et cetera, but, yes.

  376. And you have asked them to contribute towards the £14 million difference in the cost?
  (Mr Reilly) Correct.

  377. What is the effect of the 12th December announcement on Ellesmere Port production of V6 engines?
  (Mr Reilly) It has no impact.

  378. Will the new Vectra use Ellesmere Port V6 engines?
  (Mr Reilly) Yes.

  Chairman: Thank you very much. We may want to drop you a line about the Frontera and the Vivaro van but really these are matters of detail which we can pick up with you. If there are any other points we want to raise with you, we will be in touch. Thank you for the information you have given us today, it has been extremely helpful. Thank you very much indeed.

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