This means Cheshire jobs at the factory could be secured past the current Astra model.
Jon Browning, Vauxhall chairman and GM Europe marketing chief, said: “Improvements in working practices and productivity after a move to a two-shift working pattern and 1,000 redundancies have greatly boosted the plant’s competitiveness.
“This is a critical year for the plant’s future, which was in doubt as little as 12 months ago. The future of Ellesmere Port is tied to a decision in mid-2007 as to which plants will get the investment for the next-generation Astra, due around 2009/10.”
Ellesmere Port is in competition with Bochum in Germany and Antwerp in Belgium. The Belgian plant received a boost last week when it was announced as the source for up to 40,000 Saturn-badged Astras a year to be exported to the US from next autumn. Antwerp was chosen because it makes a full-line of hatchback Astras, including the three-door model not built at Ellesmere Port.