Vauxhall’s parent company, General Motors, announced that the work to build the new Astra will start by 2010 and will also be shared by plants in Poland, Germany and Sweden. However, GM also announced that its Antwerp plant in Belgium would not be producing the new C-segment hatchback.
The production of the new model at Ellesmere Port will safeguard the factory’s future, which previously faced the risk of closure.
The new Astra will create approximately 14,000 new jobs in the UK and a new shift at the Merseyside plant.
GM Europe president Carl-Peter Forster made the announcement following talks with worker representatives in Belgium.
“Product allocations are extraordinarily difficult decisions to take and I know that today’s announcements will be very difficult for our workforce in Antwerp,” said Forster.
“All of our Western European plants have significantly improved over the past few years and are now very close in terms of the various measures of performance, such as cost, productivity and quality. In the end, it is a strategic decision based on a number of factors such as capacity planning, brand and market considerations, as well as ongoing restructuring activities.”
"This is an endorsement of hard work and commitment by British workers," said SMMT chief executive, Christopher Macgowan.
"We all recognise the pressures on manufacturing in global markets but today's decision is proof that Britain can still hold its own when it comes to driving up quality and productivity. It's great news for all the staff on Merseyside and for the British motor industry as a whole."