The axe fell yesterday: PSA Peugeot CitroŽn announced its intention to close to here in 2007 the British Ryton assembly plant, near Coventry, which employs 2,300 employees, dedicated to producing the last 206 European. Despite the severity of the European market, the French groups are not customary because: this is the first full case of site decided by a HABs constructor since the abandonment of Vilvoorde by Renault, in 1997, which had resulted in a psychodrama in Belgium.
Isolated in geographic and monetary terms, Britain has suffered in recent years, many ads automotive factories, from Ford or Jaguar, and culminating with the bankruptcy without glory of Rover, the last year. The financial amount of the next social plan of Ryton is not yet known and will be communicated at a later date.
To justify its decision, PSA highlights the poor competitiveness of its plant in the Midlands, eccentric in its industrial disposition and not covered by the major OEMs. The cost of the 206 are produced was higher than EUR 400 per unit of the French factories. But it is the double decision of SAP install, Czech Republic and Slovakia, two new plants for its urban cars (Peugeot 107, Citroen C1) and medium-sized (the new Peugeot 207 and a future CitroŽn) who sounded the death knell of Ryton. Although Jean-Martin Folz, refuses to talk about outsourcing, preferring to emphasize his commitment to closer to the emerging markets of Eastern, the strengthening of the industrial device in this region shrinking mechanically the conditions of profitability of the UK site. And the decline in rates did the rest, from 200,000 cars in 2002, only 107.000 units this year. Since Ryton was spurned for the production of the very carrier 207, for the benefit of Poissy, Madrid and especially Trnava (Slovakia), and although branch kept the last time a modest reserve on the subject, his fate seemed largely sealed.
A decision in two steps
After thorough analysis of its industrial tool, in early 2006, PSA has found that the production costs and high logistics of Ryton "do not justify the investment needed for the production of a new vehicle. There will be more to produce on the spot and a range at the end of career, 206 sedan and various adaptations, mini-break (SW) and sports (RC), until they were themselves replaced by variants of the 207. To mitigate the social impact this disaster area, the Group of Jean - Martin Folz has planned a shutdown in two stages, with "the passage of two to a team in July 2006, and production discontinued." before the end of the first half of 2007 The manufacturer employs 2,000 employees on site, in addition to 300 positions of the subsidiaries Gefco (transport) and Faurecia (automotive equipment). Workforce amounted to 8,000 for the group in Britain, with the commercial part is preserved.
Despite the deterioration of its profitability and the severity of the European automobile market, SAP is hardly familiar with plant closures, measures that are still very expensive. The Group had found Ryton in the basket of purchase of the activities of Chrysler Europe in 1978, with other plants such as Poissy (Yvelines) or Madrid. However, it had closed early, as early as 1980, Scottish of Linwood, focused site on utilities.
Yesterday evening, the British Government, through the voice of his Minister of trade, Alan Johnson, said he is "very disappointed" the decision of the French group.