New Vauxhall Astra saves Ellesmere Port jobs

The plant, which currently builds the Vauxhall Astra hatchback and Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer, is one of three plants building the small family car, one of the top five best-selling cars in the UK in 2011.

However, Vauxhall is expected to close one to save costs before the new Vauxhall Astra arrives in 2015.

The Ellesmere Port factory, despite its position as the most efficient of the three (the others are found in Germany and Poland) was considered to be under threat as part of Vauxhall’s plans.

Now the plant is expected to be announced as the home of the new Vauxhall Astra, securing jobs at the plant for the duration of production of the new model.

The news could event mean more jobs at the plant and new pay packages for the staff after Vauxhall revealed it would increase the number of daily work shifts.

The Vauxhall Astra, available in five-door hatchback, estate or sporty three-door coupe GTC variations, is the second best-selling Vauxhall in the UK after the smaller Vauxhall Corsa and the fourth most popular car overall.

The success of the car is down to the latest generation offering updated, modern styling, improved ride and handling and a more upmarket interior.

This includes air conditioning, a CD player and MP3 connectivity, electric windows and heated door mirrors as standard on Expression and ES models.

Higher trim levels add extras such as leather highlights in the cabin, satellite navigation, cruise control and a range-topping sound system.

The new Vauxhall Astra comes with a selection of petrol and diesel engines including the impressive Ecoflex diesel offering sub-100g/km of CO2 emissions and subsequently free road tax.

New Vauxhall Astra prices start from £13,000 for entry-level models. The current generation, built in Ellesmere Port, is due to be replaced in 2015 when a new model arrives in UK Vauxhall dealerships.