Vauxhall invests £189m in Luton and Ellesmere

Vauxhall is to invest £189m in its Luton and Ellesmere Port factories to boost productivity and launch its new medium-sized van, jointly developed with Renault.

The IBC Vehicles plant at Luton, which makes the four-wheel drive Frontera, will become a dedicated commercial vehicle plant. Frontera production will move to Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant on the Wirral, to be built alongside the Astra, and £32m will be spent to make Vectra production at Luton more efficient.

The investment was won in competition from General Motors factories internationally.

Most of the investment, £130m, goes to production of the new 2.5-2.8-tonne van at the IBC plant, set up as a 50/50 joint venture with Isuzu but now wholly owned by Vauxhall’s parent General Motors. Initial production of the model, for sale across Europe by Vauxhall/Opel and Renault, is expected to exceed 80,000 vehicles annually following its launch next spring. About 500 new jobs will be created in the next 18 months.

Meanwhile, moving production of the Frontera, which is expected to sell 30,000 units this year, will cost £27m.

Frontera production will use spare capacity from the third shift of Astra production, due to finish at the end of this year. The first Ellesmere Port Fronteras will be made next spring.

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