Examination of Witnesses (Questions 360
THURSDAY 11 JANUARY 2001
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
364. How many would be built elsewhereAntwerp
or Ellesmere Port?
(Mr Reilly) About 180; 160 to 180,000.
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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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.