The new Astra production at Ellesmere Port is a true victory for a long standing workforce
(PRWEB UK) 11 July 2012
2012 is certainly a year of celebration in the UK. With the London Olympics the highlight, and the Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, it is a time when the woes of the economy can be forgotten for a moment. It is a time for hope, and perhaps in one area of UK industry there are some good new stories appearing. One such came with the announcement that the Vauxhall Astra will continue in production at the Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire *.
Leading Gap Insurance provider GapInsurance123 explains how the news has had a positive effect on the local economy.
''There is a rich history of car manufacturing at Ellesmere Port, with thousands of families directly effected by the announcement. We have noted an upsurge in our business locally which is a clear indication of the confidence of consumers after a period of uncertainty''
The UK motor manufacturing industry grew immeasurably during the early reign of our Queen, however, over the last 30 years, a combination of Union disputes and foreign competition has seen the manufacturing base of motors diminish significantly in the UK.
However, over the last few years there has been somewhat of a comeback, with manufacturers opting to invest in the UK, and bearing the fruits of that decision.
Car giants such as Nissan have shown that producing vehicles in the UK is both viable and profitable. The rising from the ashes of Land Rover at the former Ford factory at Halewood on Merseyside, has been an unrivaled success in the form of the Range Rover Evoque, and other models.
Manufacturing figures are up in 2012 compared with 2011, and although not yet near to the pre recession figures, it certainly is a step in the right direction.
With nearly half a century of car manufacturing behind it, the car production plant at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire, recently announced it would continue to produce the ever popular Astra model at its factory. This came as some relief to its workforce, and the surrounding town which has been reliant on car production at the plant for many years. At its height, the plant employed around 10,000 workers, and even in today's highly mechanised production lines, some 2,500 workers are employed. The news of the retention of production will see the workforce double in size again, with the Vauxhall Ellesmere Port plant continuing to be the major employer in the area.
The roots of car production at the plant date back to the early 1960's. Vauxhall's were looking for a site to build a factory, and legend has it, a delegation were passing the old RAF Hooton Park airbase on the way to another destination, when it became apparent that it would be the ideal base for a car factory. The fact that the plants first Director, American Tom Williams, was familiar with the site from his days in the US Airforce in World War II.
Initially opened for parts production, it eventually developed into full car production in 1964. The first well known model to roll of its lines was the Viva, a mid range rival to the Ford Anglia and Morris Minor.
The Viva was replaced by the Chevette in 1975, and then in 1981, the car that has remained on the production line for 30 years, the Vauxhall Astra. When the first box shaped Astra rolled off the line, no one would have guessed just what an impact it would have on the UK, and Europe wide under the Opel badge, public. Rarely out of the top 5 best selling vehicles, it is a true and positive reflection on the Ellesmere Port workforce that the vehicle is ever popular today.
Today, the Astra shares much of its 'dna' with its larger sibling, the Insignia, and this is why production of the big brother also takes place at Ellesmere Port.
In times of woe, it is indeed heartening to hear one of the true old stagers of the motor production industry in the UK continues to beat the odds, to expand and prosper.
- Note to editors, news reported by Sky News