Around 900 people work at the Cheshire factory producing 140,000 Astra models every year. French parent company PSA is closing down car production across Europe. Tony McDonough reports
Vauxhall is shutting its car assembly plant at Ellesmere Port due to the impact of the coronavirus.
Around 900 people work at the Cheshire factory producing 140,000 Astra models every year. French parent company PSA Group announced on Monday it was shutting down production at all its European planets until March 27.
PSA’s brand also include Peugeot, Citroen, DS and Opel and Vauxhall. The spread of the virus and the subsequent disruption has had a severe impact on supply chains for many manufacturers, including the automotive sector.
In a statement, the company said: “Due to the acceleration observed in recent days of serious covid-19 cases close to certain production sites, supply disruptions from major suppliers, as well as the sudden decline in the automobile markets, the chairman of the executive board with the members of the crisis unit decided the principle of the closure of the vehicle production sites.
“The site management teams will implement the site closure procedures locally, which will be done in coordination with the social partners. Groupe PSA remind that until then, compliance with the barrier measures, going beyond the recommendations of the health authorities on the sites, are the best protection to prevent the spread of the virus.”
There has already been an air of uncertainty hanging over the future of the Ellesmere Port Vauxhall site for a couple of years. Brexit and falling auto sales have all added to the gloom.
Workers at the plant are hoping PSA will agree to the next generation Astra being built there and securing its future for several years. But the company has yet to make a decision.