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Future for Astra production at Ellesmere depends on Brexit, says PSA

PSA has said that it will only build the next generation of the Vauxhall/Opel Astra at Ellesmere Port if the terms of the Brexit deal prove suitable.

Astra production line at Ellesmere Port

Declining Astra sales have already prompted job cuts at the Ellesmere Port plant

Although the current vehicle, which is mid lifecycle, is built at Ellesmere and Gliwice, Vauxhall’s parent firm said it’s planning production of the next-gen version for both the Russelsheim plant and Ellesmere Port.

However, it added, the decision on the allocation to the Ellesmere Port plant will be “conditional on the final terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union and the acceptance of the New Vehicle Agreement, which has been negotiated with the Unite Trade Union” – putting the focus on ensuring a Brexit deal.

The announcement came just days after the SMMT continued to urge the Government to secure a deal as it warned that hard Brexit border delays could cost the UK auto sector £50k a minute. And latest UK manufacturing figures published yesterday (27 June 2019) by the SMMT showed the continued impact of Brexit uncertainty with output down for the 12th month running. Brexit, as well as wider international issues, has also been referred to in this week’s NatWest UK Automotive PMI report, which finds the UK automotive sector is seeing its sharpest downturn in business conditions for six and a half years.

The PSA announcement brings continued uncertainty for the Ellesmere plant.

Although PSA had pledged on the future for Ellesmere in its PACE! Performance plan announced 100 days after its takeover of Vauxhall, the plant has been subject to a series of job cutbacks to ensure it remains competitive going forwards.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.