The UK’s Brexit saga looks ‘chaotic’ and is harming business prospects, the global boss of France’s car giant Citroen said today.
Company ceo Linda Jackson also hinted that Citroen’s parent company PSA Group had still not ruled out a partnership or take-over deal with Britain’s Jaguar Land Rover, despite earlier reports that talks had stalled.
Asked directly if such a deal could happen, Mrs Jackson told Mail Online: ’Why not? We’re not in a hurry. We can wait.’
Mrs Jackson was speaking at the centenary celebrations of Citroen in Paris where 100 of the firm’s most historic cars were on display near the Eiffel Tower.
Asked how the Brexit debate looked to her as a top British executive working abroad and looking in, she said: ’It looks chaotic.
‘Every day there’s a new news story. If you are in the UK it must be wearing. Everyone wants it to be sorted out – whether that’s for the better or the worst.’
She added that, as a Briton living and working in France, she favoured a deal that would keep trade flowing freely.
’That’s my own personal preference. We are very close in Europe. We need to remain that way.
‘We need opportunities to trade with our European partners,’ she told the Mail Online.
She also hinted that the prospects of Peugeot-Citroen merging with or taking over Britain’s Jaguar Land Rover was not dead.
Asked directly if she felt a frisson of emotion about such a deal, given her past links with Jaguar, she said: ’We are always looking for opportunities.’
Citroen is celebrating its centenary year Paris where 100 of the firm’s most historic cars were on display near the Eiffel Tower. Daily Mail’s Ray Massey pictured with one of the vintage models
She contrasted Peugeot’s financial strength, after a dramatic turnaround, with Jaguar Land Rover’s financial problems as it lays off thousands of workers and cuts costs.
‘We are financially very stable now, having gone from virtual bankruptcy. We’re looking for opportunities,’ she explained.
If we see a good opportunity or idea, why not? We’re not in a hurry. We can wait.’
Her PSA boss Carlos Tavares has been particularly bullish in seeking an alliance with JLR, owned by India’s giant TATA conglomerate.
Many see much a move as a good fit because Jaguar Land Rover is strong in the areas where France’s PSA Group is weak – with big markets in the USA, and up market off-roaders such as Land Rover and Range Rover and limousines.
PSA Group has recently been linked with a partnership – or possible takeover – of British car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover, which in turn is owned by Indian firm Tata
JLR has posted significant losses for the last financial year, mainly due to the downturn in demand for diesel cars
PSA recently bought Vauxhall and Opel from General Motors, and has factories in Luton and Ellesmere Port.
Peugeot-Citroen’s UK headquarters are in Coventry, where Jaguar Land Rover has a design and engineering centre and corporate headquarters.
In June last Citroen boss Mrs Jackson, who has been global ceo of the French car-maker for the last five years, was crowned the most influential British female in the global motor industry at the ‘Great British Women in the Car Industry’ awards.
Mrs Jackson, who has risen through the ranks from ‘stapling invoices’ as a teenager in the Midlands motor industry.
She is credited with creating a French revolution at Citroen by bringing her Anglo Saxon approach to the company, and adding flare, colour and freshness to the brand.
After a holiday job at Rover, she turned down a teacher training place at Sussex University to stay on as an accounting clerk with the firm, but later took an executive MBA at Warwick University as she rose through the ranks.
Her success has been tinged with sadness however.
Her late husband David, who she met while working at Rover, died from cancer in 2014, just months after she became head of Citroen.
Mrs Jackson said: ’He still inspires me to go on. When I have little successes, I say thank you.’
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