The last Vauxhall Astra has rolled off the line at the company’s Ellesmere Port factory in Cheshire as the works celebrates its 60th anniversary and prepares for an electric future.
Ellesmere Port opened in 1962 and began as a production plant for the Vauxhall Viva. Since then, it's produced iconic models from the Vauxhall range, including the Chevette and successive generations of the Vauxhall and Opel Astra.
In total, more than 5.2 million vehicles have rolled off the production lines at Ellesmere Port over the past 60 years.
The diamond jubilee comes as Ellesmere Port readies itself for a £100 million upgrade to become the first Stellantis plant to produce solely battery-electric models, from early next year.
The popular Vauxhall Combo-e and its Opel equivalent will be some of the first electric vehicles to be produced at Ellesmere when the plant reopens, along with Peugeot e-Partner and Citroën ë-Berlingo vans.
Ellesmere Port will also produce a range of passenger vehicles across the Stellantis brands including the Vauxhall Combo-e Life, Opel Combo-e Life, Peugeot e-Rifter and Citroën ë-Berlingo MPVs.
These light commercial vehicles and their passenger car variants are all powered by a 100kW (136hp) motor with a 50kWh lithium-ion battery.
They can be charged at up to 100kW and take just 30 minutes to charge from zero to 80 percent, capable of up to 174 miles of range.
Paul Willcox, managing director of Vauxhall, said: “Over the last 60 years, Ellesmere Port has become one of the great British car plants, producing some of the most popular cars on the roads across generations.
"With one era closing, we’re now looking forward to an all-new electric era at Ellesmere, with the site becoming the first Stellantis plant to produce solely electric vehicles. Vauxhall is fast moving towards an electric future, and I’m pleased to see the next-generation of Vauxhall electric vehicles made in Britain.”
Vauxhall has committed to selling only electric vehicles from 2028, seven years ahead of the Government deadline, and the transformation at Ellesmere Port will ensure the UK remains at the forefront of electric vehicle manufacturing.
The plant upgrade also forms a part of Stellantis’ commitment to become a carbon-neutral group, globally, by 2038 – and to halve its carbon footprint by 2030, based on 2021 data.
Vauxhall produced the first Astra at Ellesemere Port on November 16, 1981 and since then more than four million have been built at the factory.
Production of the seventh generation Astra model came to a close on April 6, 2022 and the final Vauxhall Astra model to roll off the production line was an Astra Sport Tourer SRi Nav 1.2-litre Turbo Manual in Hot Red.
Work will now be undertaken to transform Ellesmere Port into an electric vehicle manufacturing centre when it restarts production in early 2023.
The eighth generation Astra and Astra Sport Tourer estate will be built in Germany and is priced from £24,315.
A fully electric version of both cars will also arrive next year as part of Vauxhall’s commitment to only sell fully electric vehicles from 2028.
With over 90 years of history of manufacturing in the UK, Vauxhall is currently the only mainstream automotive brand to produce vans in Britain.
Alongside Stellantis’ Ellesmere Port plant, Vauxhall continues to make vans at its factory in Luton, which has been operating since 1907 and stands as Britain’s oldest car factory.
Prices correct as of 07/04/2022 and are subject to change.