The last UK-built Vauxhall Astra has rolled off the assembly line at the Ellesmere Port factory before the £100million Cheshire plant is converted to an all-electric vehicle manufacturing facility.
The plant, which opened in 1962, will be renovated in the coming months and will start manufacturing purely battery-electric models from 2023.
The last Astra to be built at Ellesmere Port was a 1.2 liter petrol turbo SRi Nav manual Sport Tourer wagon in ‘Hot Red’ livery.
End of the road for the British-built Astra: Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant has produced its last internal combustion engine family car before converting to an all-electric vehicle plant
Vauxhall, which was bought by General Motors’ French PSA group in 2017 and merged with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in 2019 to form the massive Stellantis, which is now one of the largest automakers in the world.
Ellesmere Port will be the group’s first all-electric manufacturing site specializing in battery-powered commercial vehicles and MPVs.
Once the plant has been converted into an electric-only site, it will begin production of the Vauxhall – and Opel for mainland Europe – Combo-e Van, as well as sister models Citroen e-Berlingo and Peugeot e-Partner, from early next year.
Car production started in Ellesmere Port in 1962 with the Viva, followed by the Chevette and then the Astra hatchback and estate versions. More than 5.2 million engines were manufactured there
The last Astra produced (left) as Vauxhall’s Cheshire plant prepares to switch to building electric vans and MPVs, including the combo e-van (right)
The people carrier versions of these vans are also built at the UK factory, which also owns the Vauxhall and Opel Combo-e Life MPVs, Peugeot e-Rifter and Citroen e-Berlingo.
They are all powered by a 100 kW (136 hp) electric motor with a 50 kWh lithium-ion battery that offers a range of up to 174 miles and a fast charge from zero to 80 percent in half an hour.
the new eighth generation AstraLaunched last year and priced from £24,315, it will be built at Opel’s Rüsselsheim site in Germany.
The latest model is available now with plug-in hybrid technology, and all-electric versions of the hatchback and sport tourer estate will also go on sale next year.
The first Vauxhall Astra pictured here – based on the Opel Kadett – rolls off the assembly line at Ellesmere Port in 1981
The second generation Astra was built from 1984 to 1991. It used the same engines and engines as the Mk1 but with a completely redesigned body. It was voted European Car of the Year in 1985
Released in 1991, the Mk3 Astra was an evolution of the previous model rather than a complete overhaul. It was produced until 1998
In 1998 Vauxhall introduced the Mk5 Astra, which was praised for its greatly improved ride and handling. It also performed extremely well in Euro NCAP crash tests, becoming a British favourite. Production stopped in 2004
Boxier looks were incorporated into the design of the Mk6 Astra, built at Ellsemere Port from 2004 to 2010
After the Ford Focus became a huge sales success in the UK, Vauxhall knew it had to get even better with the sixth generation Astra, built from 2009 to 2016. It was better to drive, more elegant than before and met all the requirements of a family motor
The Mk7 Astra was launched in 2015. While it was an improvement on the car it was successful with, it didn’t quite manage to replicate the same success of previous models. This is the last to be built at Ellesmere Port – a 1.2 liter Turbo SRi Nav Manual Petrol Sport Tourer Estate in ‘Hot Red’ livery
Since 1981, more than 4 million Vauxhall Astra of all generations have been built at the UK site
The family hatchback has been in production at Ellesmere Port since the arrival of the first generation car in November 1981, with the plant itself celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2022.
It started in 1962 with the production of the Viva, followed by the Chevette and then the Astra hatchback and station wagon versions.
More than 5.2 million vehicles roll off the assembly line over the course of six decades – 4 million of them Astras.
The final model was celebrated with a gathering of factory staff and former employees who have overseen vehicle spending in Cheshire over the past 60 years.
Launched last year and priced from £24,315, the new eighth-generation Astra is built at Opel in Rüsselsheim, Germany
Ellesmere Port will be building electric vans and MPVs from Vauxhall, Citroen and Peugeot from 2023. They are all powered by a 100kW (136hp) electric motor with a 50kWh lithium-ion battery that offers a range of up to 174 miles and a fast charge from zero to 80% in half an hour
Paul Willcox, Managing Director at Vauxhall and Senior Vice President at Stellantis, said: “Over the past 60 years, Ellesmere Port has grown into one of Britain’s great car factories, producing some of the most loved cars on the road for generations.
“As an era comes to an end, we now look forward to a whole new electric era at Ellesmere, where the site will become the first Stellantis facility to produce exclusively electric vehicles.
“Vauxhall is moving fast towards an electric future and I’m excited to see the next generation of Vauxhall electric vehicles made in the UK.”
Vauxhall has committed to selling only electric vehicles from 2028, seven years ahead of the government deadline, and says the revamp at Ellesmere Port “will ensure the UK remains at the forefront of electric vehicle manufacturing”.
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The last UK-built Vauxhall Astra rolls off the production line in Cheshire
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