Vauxhall owner Stellantis will invest £100m in the car firm’s plant at Ellesmere in Cheshire, it confirmed this morning, ending months of uncertainty about the future of the factory’s 1,000 jobs.
The site will be transformed into a facility for building electric vehicles in another significant coup for the UK car industry.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the investment a “huge vote of confidence” in the UK and its post-Brexit trading relationships.
The factory will produce new vans and cars for brands including Opel, Peugeot and Citroën, as well as Vauxhall, Stellantis said.
The Telegraph reported that ministers will subsidise the investment with £40m in taxpayer money.
The investment comes as the UK seeks to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.
There have been concerns over the future of the plant since it was announced that Vauxhall would cease producing the Astra there.
Stellantis, the newly-formed car behemoth, has been in talks with the government for months over potential new investment in the plant.
Prior to today’s announcement there were reports that the government would also invest in the plant to ensure the firm’s commitment to the UK.
Carlos Tavares, Chief Executive Officer at Stellantis, said: “Performance is always the trigger for sustainability and this £100 million investment demonstrates our commitment to the UK and to Ellesmere Port.
“Since 1903 Vauxhall has manufactured vehicles in Britain and we will continue to do so.”
Stellantis also announced it was planning to consult on further investment into the Ellesmere Port site with the creation of a new UK parts distribution centre.
Commenting on the decision, business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Ellesmere Port’s proud tradition in auto manufacturing will continue for many years to come thanks to today’s investment.
“Stellantis’ decision to double down on their commitment to this site is a clear vote of confidence in the UK as one of the best locations globally for competitive, high-quality automotive production.”
Ellesmere Port was opened in 1962 and has produced 5.2m vehicles over its 60-year life.
Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car?, welcomed the news, saying: “The Ellesmere Port announcement is a significant commitment from Stellantis group and represents a boost to the UK’s post-Brexit economy – helping to protect jobs in both the plant and within the wider supply sector.
“Vans currently account for 11.4 per cent of the UK vehicle park and, with sales increasing thanks to the growth in online delivery businesses, the sector is in dire need for zero-emissions vehicles to meet the looming 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans.
“With a production line dedicated to electric vans, Ellesmere Port is well positioned to take advantage of growing electric van sales in the future.”