A silver Astra 5 door hatchback has been the source of even more pride than usual for the workers at Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant. The 1.6-litre model became the 4,000,000th vehicle to be produced at the Cheshire factory, a landmark which proves that the British motor industry is very much alive, well and still producing best-selling cars!
Since the start of production in 1962, Ellesmere Port has been the birthplace of some of the UK’s most popular models beginning with the Viva and including the Chevette, Vectra and all five generations of the Astra. It is now one of the largest employers in Cheshire and Wirral employing 3,500 workers and makes nearly 185,000 vehicles a year, half of which are exported.
Currently the plant is working flat out to keep up with demand for the latest Astra across Europe, with three shifts working day and night to keep customers satisfied. The landmark 4,000,000th car is now on its way to an eager buyer in Huddersfield.
The Ellesmere Port plant director, Julian Blissett said: "It is a major milestone for us and a fantastic achievement by the workforce. The Astra embodies Vauxhall’s spirit of stylish design and driving excitement, and we are proud to build it in Britain."
The plant was recently awarded a £1.9-million pound grant under the Selective Finance for Investment in England scheme, to help install a new panel pressing shop to make large Astra body parts on site. This will make the plant even more efficient and set Ellesmere Port well on the way towards that 5 millionth car!Published 24 October 2005