A standard silver Astra 5dr has been causing more than a ripple of excitement at Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port manufacturing facility recently. A 1.6-litre model became the 4,000,000th vehicle to be produced at the plant that’s been assembling Vauxhalls version of perpetual motion for nearly forty years.
Since opening its tracks in 1962, Ellesmere has produced family classics such as the Viva and Chevette through to more modern vehicles like the Vectra along with engine production of the V6 EcoTec power units. Current Astra production started in late 2015 with the European Car of the Year award being bestowed upon it last year.
Each generation of Astra has been built here since 1979 and despite a reduction in headcount over the years the plant still employs some 3500 workers. Astra production is close to 200,000 units annually with its large proportion destined for export owing to the UK facility being the lead plant for Astra production.
Over £200 million has been invested in the plant in recent years and some impressive partnership has taken place with key suppliers in the name of quality and efficiency. One such example has been a totally new steel production and welding method that was developed jointly between Vauxhalls then owners GM and TATA steel.
Astra number 4,000,000 has reportedly been sold and is scheduled for delivery to its new owner in the West Yorkshire area. Lets hope the new PSA ownership recognises the hard work and effort of the companies sole remaining passenger car manufacturing in the UK to give a well deserved long term future for the plant.
Well done Ellesmere Port!