Vauxhall has confirmed that it will produce its next-generation Astra compact car at its Ellesmere Port manufacturing plant in Cheshire. The Ellesmere Port site will also serve as the lead plant of two European factories that will assemble Astra. Vauxhall’s decision came after the approval of the new labour agreement with the company’s workforce recently.
According to the agreement, the Ellesmere Port plant will employ several creative operating solutions to improve flexibility and reduce fixed costs, thus substantially improving the site’s competitiveness. The agreement should result in making the Ellesmere Port plant into one of the most competitive plants in the Vauxhall/Opel manufacturing network.
The Ellesmere Port plant will begin the assembly of the Astra in 2015, utilizing three shifts to make the site operate profitably at full capacity. The plan calls for the assembly of at least 160,000 vehicles every year. The agreement between Vauxhall and its employees will take effect in 2013 and will remain in force through the life of the next-generation Astra in the early 2020s.
Vauxhall/Opel will make a £125 million investment to upgrade the Ellesmere Port plant to the latest manufacturing standards as well as to prepare the site for production of the new Astra model.
Vauxhall expects to employ around 700 new direct employees to facilitate the three-shift operation. The agreement also calls for Vauxhall to increase the local supply content for the Astra to at least 25 percent, which in effect will create more jobs locally and in the UK as raise the Ellesmere Port site’s competitiveness.