PSA/Peugeot-Citroen has confirmed that it will keep its Sevelnord facility in northern France, the country's Industry Ministry revealed. This is the plant where PSA and Fiat jointly manufacture light commercial vehicles. Fiat's withdrawal from the partnership when the deal expires in 2017 has raised speculations about the facility's future.
The plant also manufactures the Citroen C8 and Peugeot 807 large minivans, which are not part of the partnership. PSA's assurance was made at a meeting called by Industry Minister Eric Besson to discuss the site's future. The discussion was also attended by company executives and the factory's workers.
According to an Industry Ministry statement, PSA "confirmed its full determination to keep the Sevelnord site." Besson also revealed that PSA said during the meeting that it was actively searching for new partners to aid in launching new automobiles at the plant.
Last week, PSA publicized a wide-ranging joint venture with General Motors. In January, PSA disclosed that it was seeking a new partner with which it could spread the expenses associated with the development and assemble of its Citroen Jumpy and Peugeot Expert vans at the Sevelnord facility.
This plant was one of two French facilities that may be closed as PSA struggle with overcapacity just like any other mass-market vehicle manufacturers in Europe. However, representative Pascal Lucas of the CGC union at the facility was unconvinced of the assurances.
He stated that the first step "was not to be forgotten" and that the announcement "goes in the right direction."
He added that the problem is "they may be simply be stalling" in order to gain some time until after the presidential election. The Sevelnord facility has been operating since 1992. It has 2,800 employees. PSA has disclosed that the facility produced 89,862 units in 2010.