Vauxhall adds third shift to Ellesmere Port plant

Production will increase at the plant to cope with demand for soon-to-be introduced Astra Sports Tourer Estate, the five-door Astra hatchback and the Astravan.

Vauxhall has outlined a strategy to increase innovation in the UK plant which CEO Nick Reilly recently described as ‘one of the most productive in Europe’.

Vauxhall came to an agreement with employees to cut costs at the plant over the next few years in order to fund the investment. This included a two-year pay freeze for the 2,000 staff at the factory.

After outlining the plans to workers at the plant, Duncan Aldred, managing director of Vauxhall Motors, said: “We are proud of our employees’ continued support and our excellent relationships with the unions. We believe that we have come to a positive agreement which recognises the outstanding achievements of our manufacturing facilities and the drive and enthusiasm of our employees.”

The success of the Cheshire-based facility could encourage Vauxhall to choose Ellesmere Port as home of the forthcoming Vauxhall Ampera. Production is set to begin on the extended range electric hybrid model next year and Ellesmere Port is the favourite to be chosen.

The plant will begin production of the Astra Sports Estate next year. It is expected to debut at the Paris Motor Show in October this year before an unconfirmed launch date in 2011.

Meanwhile, Vauxhall is also in talks about a next generation Vivaro van with Renault. The joint venture is due to expire in 2013, but Vauxhall is confident an agreement can be reached to build the Vivaro at the Luton plant.