PARIS -- Any investment by Stellantis in its Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port, England, is dependent on support from the British government, CEO Carlos Tavares said in an interview with a French newspaper.
Stellantis is now looking at whether to focus the site on electric mobility but such an investment may not make business sense, Tavares said.
"An investment of this type, on top of what is already planned for continental Europe, does not make industrial sense because we have enough capacity elsewhere," Tavares was quoted as saying by Les Echos on Wednesday.
"If we do it, it will have to be with support from local authorities. This support needs to be concrete, binding, and not just a communications gambit," he said.
Stellantis is considering revamping the factory for production of full-electric cars but is seeking financial incentives and commitments on post-Brexit trade of auto parts, Bloomberg reported last week.
Tavares said during an earnings call on Wednesday that Stellantis had been ready to bolster the factory with fresh investments but the British government's announcement in November that it would ban combustion-engine vehicles from 2030 forced the company to abandon a project earmarked for the plant.
After Prime Minister Boris Johnson's "brutal announcement, we immediately suspended the decision on that project," Tavares said. "We are not going to invest in the UK market on a product that is going to be banned from 2030 onwards," he said.
"We have discussions with the UK government, they are collaborative, productive, open minded, but this is a business," Tavares said. Stellantis will not invest "if it doesn’t make economic sense."
Ellesmere Port has emerged as an early test case for the UK's carmaking prospects after a trade agreement between the UK and EU was reached in December.
Tavares's comments on whether the company will revamp the site near Liverpool or phase out production highlight the pressure on Johnson’s government to reach a deal to safeguard the factory and avoid it becoming a post-Brexit manufacturing casualty.
Bloomberg contributed to this report