Car maker Vauxhall is planning to cut 400 jobs at its Ellesmere Port operation by the end of the year.
The headcount reduction affects nearly a quarter of the workforce, which totals almost 1,800. Vauxhall currently employs 4,500 staff in the UK overall at plants in Ellesmere Port and Luton.
"Facing challenging European market conditions and a declining passenger car market, Vauxhall needs to adjust production volumes at its Ellesmere Port production facility to the current level of demand and to improve its performance, in order to protect its future,” a spokesman for PSA, which bought the Vauxhall brand from General Motors in a €2.2bn (£1.96bn) deal earlier this year, told Reuters.
The PSA spokesman said the job cuts would be carried out via a voluntary redundancy plan, which will be discussed with employees representatives over a 45-day period.
PSA remains committed to the Opel Astra plant at Ellesmere Port, the spokesman said, adding that current manufacturing costs there were “significantly higher” than those of the benchmark plants of the PSA Group in France.
After PSA bought Vauxhall, business secretary Greg Clark said Peugeot would stick to commitments made to Vauxhall factories in the UK. Clark said he had discussed with PSA management discussed how the company's approach was "to increase market share and expand production, rather than close plants".
The Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire has made the Vauxhall Astra since 1979.