Economy of Luton

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Hangar 89, EasyJet headquarters
Griffin House, headquarters of Vauxhall Motors

This article is about the Economy of Luton

Over the centuries, due to technological and economic change, Luton's economy has changed and developed to keep pace with the rest of the UK. Major industries that are related to Luton include Brickmaking, Millinery or Hat making, Automobile production and its airport, London Luton Airport. Currently, Luton is going through a regeneration scheme that will transform the Central Business District to include a new shopping centre on Power Court, the redevelopment of the Town Square and a refit of The Mall Arndale Centre.


Early industries[edit]


Hat making[edit]


Luton has a long history of automotive manufacturing. Many firms have used Luton as a base for production including Commer, Marcos Engineering and General Motors.


Main article: Vauxhall Motors

Vauxhall came to Luton in 1905, just two years after the company had started to make cars.[1] The company was taken over by GM in 1925 but continued to develop and build its own vehicles in Luton. In 1931 the truck and bus arm Bedford was created, the first Bedford vehicles were reworked Chevrolet vehicles but Bedford soon became a unique marque in its own right. During the Second World War, Vauxhall became a major supplier of lorries and also produced the Churchill Tank which were tested in the grounds of nearby Luton Hoo. The lake at Wardown Park was even used for testing vehicles to be used on D-Day. During the 1960s the factory in Luton employed 37,000 people but from the end of the 1960s production and employment in the town was reduced.

In 2000 the company announced that car production would end and the factory finally closed in March 2002. IBC Vehicles still has a factory in the town, producing the Vauxhall Vivaro, Nissan Primastar and Renault Trafic vans.[2]



Luton's main shopping centre is The Mall

Luton Airport[edit]

The Future[edit]


This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Luton at current basic prices published[3] (pp. 240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional Gross Value Added a Agriculture b Industry c Services d
1995 2,067 1 902 1,165
2000 2,614 1 850 1,763
2003 3,090 1 811 2,278


  • a Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  • b includes hunting and forestry
  • c includes energy and construction
  • d includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured


  1. ^ History of Vauxhall in Luton
  2. ^ Millward, David (2009-05-27). "Jobs fear as Vauxhall awaits fate of General Motors". Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 2009-05-28. 
  3. ^ Office for National Statistics economy figures Archived December 1, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.