Local workers were joined by Peter Thom, General Motors’ Vice President Global Manufacturing and Stefan Fesser, Ellesmere Port Plant Director. The plant beat off competition from across Europe to build the new car.
The Ellesmere Port site has built over five million vehicles since 1964. The factory is a major exporter with 52 per cent of production going to 25 European markets. At full production it is estimated the plant will build around 680 cars per day and 120,000 per year.
UK firms, including those in manufacturing, utilities, construction, transportation and storage, are estimated to benefit from almost £70 million gross value added and 800 jobs that result directly from Vauxhall’s investment in Ellesmere Port.
“This first Astra Sports Tourer marks another milestone in the great history of Vauxhall manufacturing in the North-West,” said Rory Harvey, Vauxhall’s Chairman and Managing Director. “The all-new Astra is of critical importance to Vauxhall and its manufacturing facility in Ellesmere Port. I’m very proud of the men and women who build this vehicle to world class levels of quality and productivity.”
Like its five-door hatch sibling, the Sports Tourer is based on an all-new lightweight vehicle architecture with a new design, powertrains and technology, although it has the same dimensions as the outgoing model with a length of 4,702mm, a width of 1,871mm (with exterior mirrors folded in) and a height of 1,499mm. According to Vauxhall, however, it offers much more space for passengers and luggage. The driver has 26mm of additional headroom, while passengers in the rear have 28mm more. The Sports Tourer’s total cargo capacity is now 1,630 litres, thanks to more efficient packaging.
The diesel engine option is the recently-launched 1.6-litre CDTi Whisper Diesel. The body shell weight alone was reduced by 20 per cent from 357kg to 280kg.
The Astra Sports Tourer also features OnStar, which includes high-speed 4G LTE mobile network access, emergency response notification and stolen vehicle recovery alert. The Sports Tourer is also claimed to be one of the first vehicles from a mainstream manufacturer to get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, available through a new version of the IntelliLink infotainment system.