The future Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port assembly plant remains unclear, but workers received poor news earlier this week. PSA Groupe, Vauxhall and Opel’s new owner, announced it will eliminate 400 jobs from the UK-based production facility.
In response, the plant’s union, Unite, called for the UK government to send a “clear signal” of support for the UK automotive industry, according to Insider UK. The Ellesmere Port plant employs 1,800 workers presently and builds the Vauxhall Astra. PSA Groupe agreed to keep the plant open until 2021 but will decide the facility’s future post-2021 by the end of this year.
By 2021, the next-generation Astra will report for duty and it will ride on a PSA platform to consolidate parts and move away from General Motors intellectual property. By then, the Ellesmere Port plant may not be the most attractive facility to produce the car. PSA Groupe previously noted its plants seem more efficient than the former GM facilities in Europe. PSA’s Sochaux, France, facility reportedly has ample capacity to take on the next-generation Astra.
PSA CEO Carlos Tavares said he couldn’t commit to a Vauxhall strategy until the UK clarifies its future relationship with the European Union.
The UK voted to exit the EU last year and has left many automakers looking for answers as future tariffs could be implemented. Many suppliers remain in the EU, while Brexit paints unclear pictures for future trade relations.