Following the news that Ineos Automotive – which is planning to launch a new 4×4 utility vehicle in 2022 – is in talks with Daimler over the possible acquisition of its Hambach, France, manufacturing plant;
David Leggett, Automotive Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:
“Although nothing is finally decided yet, this will be a potentially big blow to the Welsh economy and especially to the Bridgend area that is also losing a Ford engine factory that is set to close at the end of this year.
“The Daimler restructuring and decision to sell its Hambach manufacturing site has forced a rethink at Ineos. The previous Ineos plan involved manufacturing and assembly at two sites, one in Portugal and with final assembly of the Grenadier at a new site in Wales.
“If Hambach has the capacity, it offers a simplified one-site manufacturing solution at a ready-made facility with good proximity to automotive suppliers and good transport links.
“Moreover, its position inside the EU means it would avoid any new import tariffs that could apply to UK-EU shipped parts and vehicles when the UK’s Brexit transition period ends next year – a potential problem that came with the Wales plant.
“The timescale to conclude a transaction on the Hambach plant is inevitably tight if the schedule to launch the Grenadier in 2022 is to be met.”