The takeover of Opel – which includes Vauxhall – by Magna (Canada) and Sberbank (Russia) relies on E1.5 billion of bridge loans from the German state. We learn that the four German plants are to be kept open. We await detailed information on the futures of Ellesmere Port and Luton.
At current exchange rates the UK plants should come out well from any business analysis of costs and productivity. Whether that will be sufficient to save British jobs is more doubtful, given the close involvement of the German government in the answer.
The sad truth is that there is far too much motor manufacturing capacity in the world. Some of that surplus is going to lead to closures in the EU. On both sides of the Atlantic governments have intervened. Their actions will not save more jobs or plants in the medium term – indeed they might lose more. However, they will influence the pattern of closures. The UK needs to be aware. Having a cheap currency will not necessarily take the trick.