The future of Vauxhall Astra production in Ellesmere Port continues to hang in the balance while bosses at the company await political decisions and agreements to be confirmed.
The manufacturer’s owner Groupe PSA announced this week that it intends to continue producing the model in Cheshire – but stipulated that this is conditional on the final terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union.
The company said: “Since the acquisition of Vauxhall Motors by Groupe PSA, we have been working hard to turn around the fortunes of the brand and to address the performance of the commercial and manufacturing divisions.
“Currently, the Vauxhall and Opel Astra are built in Ellesmere Port and in Gliwice – and our bestseller is still in the middle of its life cycle.”
The group has confirmed that it will manufacture the next generation Astra in its Russelsheim plant, while Ellesmere Port is currently proposed as the second production unit for the Astra.
The company’s statement explained: “The decision on the allocation to the Ellesmere Port plant will be conditional on the final terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union and the acceptance of the New Vehicle Agreement, which has been negotiated with the Unite Trade Union.”
It added: “This news demonstrates the continuous effort and commitment of Groupe PSA to Vauxhall Motors.”
Commenting on the announcement, Christine Gaskell (chair of Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership) said: “Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership welcomes today’s news by Groupe PSA, owner of Vauxhall Motors, that they have conditionally chosen Ellesmere Port as the UK manufacturing site for the next generation Astra.”
She added: “Vauxhall has long been an integral part of Cheshire’s engineering landscape, having manufactured in Ellesmere Port for almost 60 years, so we welcome this positive message of commitment to the future of the plant.”
Ellesmere Port and Neston MP Justin Madders said: “Today’s announcement is positive news for workers in Ellesmere Port and is down to the commitment of the local workforce and the unions who have been working constructively with the new owners to ensure the plant is in the best position possible to secure its future.”
He continued: “Today’s announcement provides a clear roadmap for us to continue car production in Ellesmere Port but with the decision being subject to the final term’s of the UK’s future relationship from Europe, it is up to politicians to deliver on the conditions needed to confirm this.
“A no-deal Brexit would be catastrophic for both people working at the plant and for workers in the supply chain, and must be avoided at all costs.
“Whatever the future looks like, it must include a close and frictionless trading relationship with the rest of Europe.”