But it follows strong hints from senior General Motors personnel at January's North American International Auto Show in Detroit that Ellesmere Port was preferred to the company's factory in Antwerp, Belgium. An investment of £200 million will allow Ellesmere Port to become fully flexible to vary build quantities between Astra and Vectra as product cycles demand.
Nick Reilly, Vauxhall chairman and managing director, said: 'This decision maintains Vectra manufacturing in the UK which is important for our customers and for our UK suppliers. It will also strengthen Vauxhall's future position as a major UK vehicle producer in Ellesmere Port and Luton.' Reilly said the announcement meant more than 700 Ellesmere Port workers facing redundancy will keep their jobs - they would otherwise have been lost with the planned elimination of the third shift.
The Luton facilities will continue to build the current Vectra model until March 2002 and then concentrate on commercial and off-road vehicles. Following a reappraisal of the number of jobs required on the Frontera and new Vivaro production lines, Vauxhall has confirmed that there will be no compulsory job losses in Luton this year and that it was still working to try to avoid any involuntary redundancies next year.