VAUXHALL today confirmed that its next-generation Astra 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. 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 around 700 new direct jobs.
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.’