Britain’s A Great Place To Build Cars – Nissan, Honda, Toyota & Mini Know It, Whilst Vauxhall Confirms It.
We all know the economy is going through tough times not just here in the UK, but across Europe and the rest of the world, so you would think that a company looking to manufacturer its products and create employment would have governments from all over the world chasing to get the gig. Despite that, General Motors have recently confirmed it intends to build its next generation Astra at their Ellesmere Port plant in the good old UK.
The investment by Vauxhall into the plant at Ellesmere Port is anticipated to be around £125 million and will see the plant upgraded to the latest manufacturing standards and capable of producing at least 160,000 new vehicles each year and to do that, its claimed a further 700 jobs will be created to man the three-shift operation.
As a country, we’ve got to thank GM and Vauxhall for their continued commitment to the UK motor industry at a time when many of the cars we buy, are built miles away from the UK and in all honesty, in these tough times, there is an argument that everyone of us should all reward the commitment of companies such as Vauxhall by buying their product, because you know what they say, “what comes around, goes around”.
It has to be said, that Vauxhall are quintessentially British as they’ve been making cars and vans in the UK seamlessly since 1903, yep, almost 110 years without a break and I cant think of any car maker except Daimler that even goes back that far, let alone, “continually” built vehicles in the UK. OK, they are owned by an American company in General Motors, but there should be no question of GM’s loyalty to the UK after the decision to build new generation Astra here, unlike other British sounding household names who haven’t built cars in the UK for a decade or more.
Of interest, there aren’t many UK owned car companies, just Bristol, Morgan, Caterham and McLaren, whilst Mini, Honda, Toyota, Lotus, Aston Martin, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Land Rover, MG and Vauxhall all make cars in the UK and one maker that shouldn’t be overlooked is Nissan, whose Sunderland plant is one of the most efficient in the World. Between them, they produce around 1.5 million cars a year, accounting for around 11% of UK exports, so good on ya lads, well done.
As an aside to the build of the new generation Astra, Vauxhall are going to increase the percentage of the components which are sourced locally within the UK, which will further increase employment and make the plant more competitive.
The Ellesmere Port plant celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year and currently produces the Astra Sports Tourer and made around 140,000 vehicles in 2011. Had the plant not secured the new car, closure of the plant would have had disastrous effects on Merseyside. The unions played a big part in making the investment attractive, by agreeing a new structured labour deal which included a 4 year pay agreement and the introduction of new shift patterns which will see the plant operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week and see an end to summer and Christmas plant closures.