Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant ‘world class’

Lucas was visiting the plant after the government approved a £240 million loan guarantee for General Motors (GM) to continue production on the Cheshire site.

GM recently announced a £1.7 billion restructuring of Vauxhall, and recently confirmed the 2,000 people employed at the Ellesmere Port plant – one of the most productive in Europe – will keep their jobs.

Lucas was visiting the plant to see the production of the Vauxhall Astra, which has been built at the plant since last September.

He said: "Ellesmere Port is a world-class manufacturing facility providing employment for more than 2,000 people in the North West. This has been achieved by making itself one of the most competitive and productive plants.

"Investment from companies such as Vauxhall is a vote of confidence in the UK and British manufacturing skills."

In the 2010 budget, the government announced a £230 million plug-in car grant as well as £30 million towards building a plug-in infrastructure, including charging stations and research into low-CO2 technology.

This is good news for the Ellesmere Port plant, which is hopeful of being chosen to produce the forthcoming plug-in hybrid Vauxhall Ampera.

Vauxhall Europe CEO Nick Reilly has indicated the Cheshire plant is in with a good chance of being chosen, as the Ampera and Vauxhall Astra share several parts and production methods.

A decision is expected soon, with production set to begin on the Ampera in 2012.