In its 50th year as one of Britain’s most prolific car plants, Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port factory is celebrating the five millionth car to roll off its production line.
Currently, Ellesmere Port’s 1,800-strong workforce oversees the production of a new car every two minutes, and the latest landmark model to roll off the line was an Astra hatchback.
In its half-century of operation, the Cheshire plant has produced more than a million Viva models across the years, plus 264,000 Chevettes and around 3.7 million Astras.
To celebrate the release of the five millionth car produced at the Ellesmere Port plant, Vauxhall has released a special behind-the-scenes video of some of the more extreme testing methods used at the plant.
Several models from Ellesmere Port’s past and present are taken for an adrenaline-charged spin around the plant, driven by professional stunt driver Paul Swift.
Pulling handbrake turns in everything from an original Vauxhall Viva to the famed 1975 Firenza Droopsnoot, Swift also kicks up a fair amount of tyre smoke in a modern-day Astra for good measure.
The current-generation Vauxhall Astra went on sale in 2009 and is currently the fifth best-selling car of 2014, with more than 54,000 models sold this year so far.
Vauxhall’s next-generation Astra model is due to enter production later this year at the Ellesmere Port plant, where it will provide an extra 300 jobs as part of a £140 million investment.
The marque’s latest model, the reinvigorated Viva, is also soon to enter production and is slated for release in spring next year.
Sadly, the new Viva won’t be built at Ellesmere Port like its predecessor, but will instead be manufactured in South Korea.
Reinvented as a five-door city car, the new Viva will serve as the entry-level model in Vauxhall’s small car range, which includes the ADAM city car and the all-new Corsa supermini.
Featuring strong and distinctive body lines, plus a winged chrome bar on the grille, the Viva will be available with a total of 10 body paint colours and wheel sizes that range between 14 and 16 inches.
Vauxhall claims that the new city car will also feature a wide range of high-tech kit, including an IntelliLink infotainment system which can support iOS and Android smartphone connectivity.
Pricing for the Vauxhall Viva has yet to be announced, but it’s expected that more information will be released closer to its release date early next year.
The current-generation Astra, meanwhile, is currently priced between £16,295 and £25,115.