Vauxhall today confirmed that production of its next-generation Astra Sports compact car will be built at the company’s manufacturing plant at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire. Ellesmere Port will be the lead plant of only two in Europe building the new model.
The decision follows the conclusion of a ground-breaking new labour agreement which was approved by the Vauxhall workforce yesterday. The agreement comes into force in 2013 and runs through the life of the next-generation Astra, into the early 2020s.
As part of the agreement, the plant will implement a number of creative operating solutions to improve flexibility and reduce fixed costs and hence significantly improve its competitiveness. As a consequence, the Ellesmere Port plant will become one of the most competitive plants in the Vauxhall/Opel manufacturing network.
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. The plan agrees a minimum of 160,000 vehicles to be produced each year. Vauxhall/Opel intends to invest £125 million into the facility in Ellesmere Port in order to upgrade it to the latest manufacturing standards and prepare for production of the new model. The company expects to create circa 700 new direct jobs in order to facilitate the three-shift operation.
Vauxhall will also raise the local supply content for the Astra to be built in Ellesmere Port to at least 25% 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 is quintessentially British and has been manufacturing motor vehicles in the UK seamlessly since 1903. This announcement, allied to Vauxhall’s continuing launch of award-winning, stylish and innovative new products, its sponsorship of the Home Nations football and its industry-leading Vauxhall Lifetime Warranty, underpins the brand’s commitment to the UK market and its loyal customers.