Vauxhall Ellesmere Port

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Vauxhall Ellesmere Port
Vauxhall's, Ellesmere Port - geograph.org.uk - 218503.jpg
Built1962
LocationEllesmere Port, Cheshire, England
Coordinates53°17′52.71″N 2°56′10.37″W / 53.2979750°N 2.9362139°W / 53.2979750; -2.9362139
IndustryMotor vehicle manufacture
ProductsVauxhall Viva (1962–1974)
Opel/Vauxhall Chevette (1975–1980)
Opel/Vauxhall Astra (1981–present)
Employees2,100
Area1,209,366 m2
Volume187,000 vehicles

Vauxhall Ellesmere Port is a motor vehicle assembly plant, located in the town of Ellesmere Port, south of the Wirral Peninsula in Cheshire, England. It has always built small/medium Vauxhall/Opel vehicles, beginning with the Vauxhall Viva, and is now one of two plants in Europe building the Opel Astra.

Background[edit]

In 1070, William the Conqueror granted the lands of Hooton adjoining the River Mersey to Adam de Aldithly. Eventually they passed to the Stanley family through a series of marriages. After the Battle of Bosworth, Hooton had a new hall and the first Lord Derby in Lancashire. A second half-timbered hall was built in 1488.

A third Italian-style hall was constructed circa 1778, but this later sold to cover the Stanley family’s gambling debts in 1850. The hall was bought by a Mr. Naylor, a wealthy Liverpool banker, for 82,000 guineas.

RAF Hooton Park[edit]

British participation in World War I was declared on 4 August 1914. The British War Department requisitioned the estate for use as an army training ground.

Allocating the site to the Royal Flying Corps as a training aerodrome for pilots, the War Department built one single and three double aircraft hangars, which were completed in 1917.

The airfield closed in 1957 after the disbandment of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, with the site sold to Vauxhall Motors.

History[edit]

The former RAF site was bought by Vauxhall Motors, who developed their plant as a sub-assembly and engine production centre to supply their existing Dunstable and Luton factories. The first plant director, American Tom Williams, was already familiar with the site from his days as a World War II pilot in the US Air Force. The first components flowed off the production line in November 1962.[1]

However, the site was quickly developed as the small-car production centre, with the first Vauxhall Viva rolling off of the new assembly line in June 1964. What became known locally as the North Road factory has been responsible since for building all of the successive models, including from 1975 all variants of the Vauxhall Chevette. Employment at the plant peaked that year, at 12,000.[1]

In 1980, the plant exported the first Opel badged cars from the UK, with 2,000 Ellesmere Port-built Chevettes exported for sale in West Germany through the Opel dealer network.[1] After the launch of the Vauxhall Astra in 1981, a further £65M investment in 1984 allowed commencement of the second generation Astra. After the consolidation of the European management, design functions and vehicle models in 1986 of the Opel and Vauxhall companies under parent company General Motors Europe, over half of the production output of the plant has been exported.[1]

For much of its existence thereon within the Opel/Vauxhall production network, Ellesmere Port has been the sister facility to Opel's Bochum plant in Germany; from the 1973 Opel Kadett C onward, the two factories have been the lead plants for the Kadett/Astra platform through the last six model generations. Following Bochum's closure in 2014, Ellesmere Port became the sole lead plant for the Astra K, which was released in 2016.

In 1996, it was the first car plant in the world to be certified for its environmental management systems.[1]

Current vehicle built at Ellesmere Port[edit]

Opel/Vauxhall Astra (1991 - present)

Former cars built at Ellesmere Port[edit]

Vauxhall Viva (1963 - 1979)

Opel/Vauxhall Chevette (1975 - 1984)

Opel/Vauxhall Vectra (1995 - 2008)

Opel Kadett/Vauxhall Astra (1979 - 1991)

Opel Kadett Combo/Bedford Astramax/Vauxhall Astramax (1986 - 1994)

Present[edit]

Today the plant employs circa 2,200 people, still producing the current model Opel/Vauxhall Astra.[1]

There had been fears that the plant could close in 2014, as the new Astra model comes into production in 2015. However, compared to its sister site, Bochum, Ellesmere Port in 2012 was reported to be producing 47 cars an hour over two shifts a day (a company record), while Bochum was producing 30 cars an hour over three shifts a day. In May 2012 the announcement was made that as a result of its superior productivity Ellesmere Port had won the contract to produce the new Astra from 2015 alongside Opel's Gliwice (Poland) plant, securing the existing 2,100 jobs and adding a further 700 jobs to allow for a 51-week/3-shift production pattern.[2]

Football club[edit]

Vauxhall Motors F.C. was founded in 1963, shortly after the opening of the new plant. Early in its history, it played in the Ellesmere Port League and the Wirral Combination, but it soon grew too strong for those leagues. By 1970, the club had achieved several promotions and played on the company-owned Hooton Park. In 1987 it opened its own ground at Rivacre Park, opened by then England manager Bobby Robson, where the club plays today.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Ellesmere Port Memories: A look at the past as Vauxhall plant looks to future". Chester Chronicle. 23 September 2009. Archived from the original on 18 February 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2012.
  2. ^ "Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port plant to build new Astra". BBC News. 17 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-17.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°18′11.9″N 2°55′55.3″W / 53.303306°N 2.932028°W / 53.303306; -2.932028