Vauxhall chief executive Nick Reilly said this week that the Luton IBC plant was a strong contender for a new Vauxhall/Renault joint venture to produce a medium sized 2.8 3.5 tonne van.
The venture, which is at the design stage, will be a 50/50 investment split. Around 500 600 jobs would be created in Luton if it goes ahead.
‘We have had early indications that Luton would be a leading site for potential production,’ Reilly said.
The Vauxhall and Renault boards are expected to decide in the next three to four months whether to go into production with the new van, planned as a replacement for the Vauxhall Arena and Renault Trafic, said Reilly.
The plan follows the Renault-led project to build the heavy Renault Master, launched at the Motor Show as the Vauxhall Movano.
Meanwhile, Reilly claimed that Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port factory remains competitive with sterling at its current level.
The company has recently added a third shift of Astra production at the plant, creating 1,000 new jobs.
‘The extra shift is needed for export demands because the Astra is selling so well in Europe,’ said Reilly. ‘Without the negotiations at the beginning of the year on wages and improved productivity, Ellesmere Port would never have got the third shift.
‘The plant can compete cost-effectively. We didn’t anticipate a significant weakening of the pound our plan is not based on an expected devaluation.’