17 May 2012
Vauxhall boost for UK manufacturing
Thousands of jobs have been saved and hundreds more created as Vauxhall today confirmed that the next-generation Astra compact car will be built at its plant in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.
The £125m of investment announced by the car giant will not only guarantee the future of the existing 2,100 staff for the next decade but also generate an extra 700 jobs at the Merseyside plant as well as a further 3,000 in the supply chain locally and around the UK.
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 Vauxhall plants.
Assembly of the new compact car is scheduled to start in 2015 and will operate on three-shifts, and will run profitably at full capacity, producing upwards of 160,000 vehicles a year.
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.
With Ellesmere Port’s proven build quality and a new agreement that ensures excellent cost competitiveness, this facility will provide additional employment and, as the lead plant for the next-generation Astra, will be one of the cornerstones of our European manufacturing footprint.”
Responding to the news Vince Cable said: “This is fantastic news and secures car production at Ellesmere Port till at least 2020. I am delighted for Vauxhall’s exemplary workforce and management who have all worked hard to make the cost savings needed and ensure that the UK remains at the centre of GM’s operations in Europe.
“The unions and the Government also played a significant role in demonstrating to GM’s board that Vauxhall has a very flexible workforce and making the commercial case for their continued investment in the UK.
“Today’s news shows that GM is now committed to the UK for the long-term like other global vehicle manufacturers such as Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, Honda, Toyota and BMW. It is further testament to the strength of the UK auto sector.”
Go to www.machinery-market.co.uk to see a video clip of Vince Cable reacting to the news.