New Vauxhall Astra to be produced in UK; £125m invested
Vauxhall has confirmed that production of its new Astra model will take place at its Ellesmere Port, Cheshire manufacturing plant – the lead plant of two in Europe building the model. The decision was made after Vauxhall’s workforce signed a new labour agreement, commencing in 2013, on Wednesday 16 May. The facility agreed to implement a number of creative operating solutions to improve flexibility and reduce fixed costs, making it one of the most competitive in the Vauxhall/Opel manufacturing network. The agreement will run into early next decade, through the projected lifespan of the next-generation Astra.
Assembly of the new compact car is scheduled to start in 2015. Operating on three shifts, the plant is expected to run profitably at full capacity utilisation, with a minimum of 160,000 vehicles produced each year. Vauxhall/Opel says it intends to invest £125 million into Ellesmere Port in order to upgrade the factory to the latest manufacturing standards and prepare for production of the new model. The company expects to create around 700 new direct jobs in order to facilitate the operation.
Vauxhall will also raise the local supply content for the Astra to be built in Ellesmere Port to at least 25 per cent of which will create further employment locally and in the UK overall and further increase the plant’s competitiveness.
Vauxhall chairman and managing director, Duncan Aldred, said: “This is great news for the Ellesmere Port plant, our employees, the local community, our suppliers, the Vauxhall brand and the UK. We have been able to develop a responsible labour agreement that secures the plant’s future. This is assisted by the government‘s industrial strategy; increasing its focus on the manufacturing sector and creating ideal ground for companies to build up long term investments.
“With Ellesmere Port’s proven build quality and a new agreement that ensures excellent cost competitiveness, this facility will provide additional employment and, as the lead plant for the next-generation Astra, will be one of the cornerstones of our European manufacturing footprint.”
Vauxhall has been manufacturing motor vehicles in the UK since 1903, showing its commitment to the UK market. The company also sponsors Home Nations football.