Ellesmere Port has been making the Vauxhall Astra for nearly four decades. So, today, employees observed the milestone moment the four millionth motor came off the production line with a display of Astras. Our motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, reports.
Producing the well-known Griffin-badged car since 1981, the factory has offered employment to generations of families, investing millions of pounds into the local economy. The commemorative image, which took 12-hours, 179 white and 57 red Astra Sports Tourers to assemble, spelt out the accomplishment in Astra’s characteristic red. It also honoured the thousands of workers who have played a part leading up to the significant landmark.
Two Million Models
Ellesmere Port has manufactured all seven generations of the renowned Astra, exporting more than two million models to 25 European markets, and even Australia in the initial years. Today, it employs 2,000 people, and many more rely on the plant in the supply chain as it builds around 680 Astras a day.
Vauxhall Motors’ Denis Chick, commented: “The Vauxhall Astra has been one of the UK’s best-selling and most loved cars for almost 40 years, and we’re proud to manufacture it here in Britain at Ellesmere Port. We felt the production of our four millionth Astra was worth celebrating and, as always, the team at Ellesmere Port has stepped up to the challenge by creating this stunning image.”
Vauxhall Motors has invested over £200 million in the Ellesmere Port factory in recent years and it remains a stalwart of British business. With nearly 80 per cent of Ellesmere Port vehicles exported out of Great Britain, it is set to continue as the main supplier to customers, both here and overseas.
10 Astra Facts
- The Vauxhall Astra replaced the Viva and was the first Vauxhall model with front wheel drive
- One in four Brits has owned or driven an Astra
- The height of four million Astras is the equivalent to 62,500 Big Bens
- Collectively we’ve driven 216 billion miles in Astras – that’s enough to drive to the sun and back 1, 161 times
- The length of four million Astras would take you to China and back
- The name of the Vauxhall Astra derives from the Latin Astralis meaning the stars
- The Astra has always been a popular Police patrol car – the Mk6 model was used by 54 different constabularies
- Multi-award winning, the Astra most recently won European Car of the Year in 2016
- Not just Brit-built, the current Astra was designed by a team led by Brits Mark Adams and Malcolm Ward
- The Astra became the fourth ‘Reasonably Priced Car’ on BBC Top Gear and was driven by Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Olly Murs, Aaron Paul and Warwick Davis.