The future of Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant has been secured, with owner Stellantis investing £100 million to turn it into its first facility dedicated to the production of electric vans.
From late next year, the long-time home of the Vauxhall Astra will switch to producing the Citroën e-Berlingo, Peugeot e-Partner and Vauxhall Combo-e commercial vans, along with their passenger-carrying MPV variants.
The deal has secured around 1000 jobs at the site, which will receive a raft of upgrades.
Notably, batteries for the vans won’t be produced at Ellesmere Port, instead being shipped in from other Stellantis plants abroad.
The future of the Ellesmere Port plant had been in doubt for years, and its situation was made even more uncertain recently by the UK government’s decision to ban the sale of all new ICE cars from 2030.
Stellantis boss Carlos Tavares, who has been openly critical of the 2030 ban, said: “This £100m investment demonstrates our commitment to the UK and to Ellesmere Port. I particularly want to thank our highly skilled, dedicated workforce for their patience and contribution. We never let them down.”
The £100m investment will include the creation of a new bodyshop, upgrades to the general assembly area and the creation of an on-site battery pack assembly plant.
Stellantis said that it would provide extra support to help make Ellesmere Port carbon-neutral by the middle of the decade. It will also launch a consultation on investing further in the plant to create a new UK parts distribution centre.
Stellantis said the UK government has “supported” the investment, although it hasn’t revealed what level of financial commitment that involved.
The UK government recently confirmed an investment to boost electric car and battery production at Nissan’s Sunderland plant.
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “In this global race to secure electric vehicle production, we’re proud to support Britain’s auto sector in this crucial transition as we work to build back better.”
Ellesmere factory first opened in 1964 to produce the Vauxhall Viva compact car, and various generations of the Astra have been produced there since 1979.
From 1986 until 1994, the first-generation Opel Combo/Vauxhall Astramax van, the forerunner to the current Combo, was built there.