The French owner of Peugeot and Citroen is drawing up plans to buy the European branch of General Motors, including Vauxhall in the UK and Opel on the Continent.
The move has cast into doubt the future of 19,000 Opel workers in Germany over fears of major job losses should the company be bought by the French giant PSA group.
But the embattled German chancellor has vowed to make every effort to protect the workers’ positions in the event such a deal is struck.
She said: “With Opel, the talks are underway. The government has a coordination process underway.
“We will do everything we can politically to secure jobs and sites in Germany.”
The German chancellor has vowed to fight for German car workers throughout the Vauxhall takeover.
Merkel’s defence of German jobs comes in stark contrast to the meek assurances of British ministers over the 3,500 jobs at factories in Cheshire and Bedfordshire.
Business Secretary Greg Clark said he met with French car bosses in Paris, but gave no guarantees about the futures of Vauxhall car workers in the UK.
He said: “I had constructive meetings in Paris with both my French counterpart, the industry minister, and executives of PSA Group, in which they explained the rationale behind this potential alliance.
Opel has 19,000 jobs in Germany.
Greg Clark said he had "constructive talks" with French car bosses in Paris.
“They stressed that they valued highly the enduring strength of the Vauxhall brand, underpinned by its committed workforce.”
Mr Clark added: “While discussions are ongoing, they made clear to me that in any deal these were strengths they would wish to build on.
“We agreed to remain in close contact during the building ahead.”
Len McCluskey said he was not aware of any assurances made the Government over UK Vauxhall jobs. Are these the best cars for you for 2017? Wed, February 15, 2017
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The Business Secretary has also met with GM president Dan Ammann and Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, over fears for the future of Vauxhall’s UK workforce.
But McCluskey said he had received “no assurances at the moment” over the workers’ futures, and called on the Government to demand it be present when PSA Group and GM meet with French and German officials in the future.
Vauxhall employs 38,000 staff in total, across 10 manufacturing plants and three development centres in seven European countries.
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