The government and trade unions have held initial talks over aims to preserve jobs at Luton-based Vauxhall amid reports of its sale by parent company General Motors.

GM is reportedly considering selling the German-based Opel, which owns the Vauxhall brand in the UK, to PSA Group, which makes Peugeot and Citroen.

The news comes in the week GM announced that their European car arm lost over £200million in 2016, which was the American firm’s 16th straight year of losses in the European market.

Vauxhall employs 4,500 workers at its factories in Luton and Ellesmere Port in Cheshire, as well as a further 30,000 in the company’s supply chain and retail network.

Business Secretary Greg Clark told the BBC that he met with union bosses earlier this week, and that he was aiming to make a “strong case” for the firms involved in the deals to retain a UK manufacturing presence. Clark also confirmed he has spoken with executives at GM.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey added, “It’s important that our government is involved and Greg Clark has made it clear that the government will be involved.

“Our common objective is to make certain that we secure the continuation of work at Ellesmere Port and Luton and Toddington.”

The move has also faced concern and frustration from the German government, with Berlin declaring an intent to “intervene”. GM’s chief executive and President flew to Opel’s headquarters in the German city of Russelsheim on Wednesday for talks.