Vauxhall Astra production could be moved out of UK post-Brexit

PSA boss Carlos Tavares says production at Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port factory could end if Brexit makes operations unprofitable

Vauxhall Ellesmere Port factory

Production of the new Vauxhall Astra could be moved from Ellesmere Port and out of the UK completely after Brexit, the boss of the firm’s parent company has said. Carlos Tavares, CEO of Groupe PSA, told the Financial Times that there are alternative plants where the Astra can be built in the event of a no deal Brexit.

If one of these were to be chosen over Ellesmere Port, then the Cheshire factory would most likely close, resulting in the loss of around 1,000 jobs and leaving Vauxhall’s Luton-based van plant as the firm’s last UK production facility.

“Frankly, I would prefer to put it [the Astra] in Ellesmere Port, but if the conditions are bad and I cannot make it profitable, then I have to protect the rest of the company and I will not do it,” Tavares told the FT.

He added: “We have an alternative to Ellesmere Port.”

It follows PSA’s announcement in June that the Astra would only be built at Ellesmere Port on the condition that the UK’s exit from the EU occurred on favourable terms.

In the clearest message from a major manufacturer that a bad Brexit would affect manufacturing plans PSA said while it will build the MK8 Astra at two European factories, “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”.

Groupe PSA has already confirmed its factory in Russelsheim, Germany, will be one of the plants to build the next-generation Astra.

The UK’s automotive industry has seen a sharp decline in recent months, with Honda announcing it will close its Swindon plant in 2021, and Ford confirming its Bridgend engine plant in south Wales is to close in September 2020 with the loss of 1,700 jobs.

But with Ford’s decision to close Bridgend linked to its global restructuring strategy, and Honda making no explicit links to Brexit in its Swindon announcement, Groupe PSA’s statement on the Astra is the clearest warning yet that a bad Brexit deal, or no deal, will directly impact jobs and manufacturing.

The firm says its clear message on the next-generation Astra “demonstrates the continuous effort and commitment of Groupe PSA to Vauxhall Motors.”

Ellesmere Port employs around 1,000 people; the site has previously paused production to prepare for Brexit, and announced 241 job losses would take place over 2019. PSA’s announcement that the Astra’s future UK life hinges on Brexit comes the same days as it was revealed UK car manufacturing has declined every month for the last year

 

 

Vauxhall to cut 241 jobs at its Ellesmere Port plant

 

 

Vauxhall announced late last year that a restructure in staffing at its Ellesmere Port plant will result in the loss of 241 jobs through 2019.

Insiders state that the restructuring is not related to Brexit. Instead, the introduction of new technologies and the reduction in the size of the Cheshire-based site are the primary reasons for slimming down the current 1,145-strong workforce.

The brand started a 45-day consultation period on 23 November with trade union and employee representatives to ensure that the consequences of the reduction in numbers, which will be phased in throughout the course of this year, are mitigated as much as possible to those involved.

Primarily, this means that Vauxhall aims to make the reduncies voluntary, and will offer the employees the option and necessary support to relocate to its Luton plant if they so choose.

Back in April it was announced that Luton would produce not only the next Vivaro van but its PSA alternatives, the Peugeot Expert and Citroen Dispatch. This is set to increase its overall production output from 70,000 to 100,000 units.

What do you think the future holds for Ellesmere Port? Let us know in the comments...

Recommended

Cyclists and pedestrians prioritised in upcoming Highway Code revisions
News

Cyclists and pedestrians prioritised in upcoming Highway Code revisions

Latest Highway Code changes look to strengthen the priority of walkers and cyclists over motorists
30 Jul 2021
UK road pricing: UK plan to plug the fuel duty gap
Motorway
News

UK road pricing: UK plan to plug the fuel duty gap

The Government’s plan to plug the £30bn gap in lost fuel duty is taking shape with bans on petrol and diesel car and trucks looming
13 Jul 2021
New Vauxhall Astra unveiled with plug-in hybrid power
Vauxhall Astra - front
Vauxhall Astra

New Vauxhall Astra unveiled with plug-in hybrid power

The new Mk8 Vauxhall Astra arrives with hybrid drivetrains and a sharp new look
13 Jul 2021
Four million people in the UK have fallen asleep while driving
Tired driver
News

Four million people in the UK have fallen asleep while driving

Research produces worrying revelation that four million UK motorists have nodded off behind the wheel at some point
16 Jun 2021

Most Popular

Land Rover unveils limited-run Defender Trophy Edition
Land Rover unveils limited-run Defender Trophy Edition - front
Land Rover Defender

Land Rover unveils limited-run Defender Trophy Edition

Just 220 examples will be built to honour past Camel Trophy Land Rovers, all of which have been reserved for the North American market
30 Jul 2021
New 2021 Volkswagen Taigo coupe-SUV breaks cover
Volkswagen Taigo R-Line - front
Volkswagen Taigo

New 2021 Volkswagen Taigo coupe-SUV breaks cover

The new VW Taigo is a sportier, more aggressive looking version of the brand’s T-Cross and is aimed at lifestyle buyers
29 Jul 2021
New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range
Kia EV6 - front
Kia EV6

New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range

Kia reveals more specs for its bespoke electric car, with the EV6 offering long range and an 18-minute 80 per cent rapid recharge time
21 Jul 2021