Fleet News

Luton bids farewell to 100 years of car making

CAR manufacturing at Vauxhall's plant in Luton has ended after nearly 100 years with the very last Vectra rolling off the production line last week.

Vauxhall announced more than a year ago the end of an era at the plant, which has produced more than 750,000 Vectras since the car's launch.

The new Vectra is being produced at Russelsheim, Germany, although hatchbacks will soon be built at Ellesmere Port in the UK.

Unions said the closure was a sad day for General Motors, although the manufacturer said the move was vital as part of a restructuring to protect jobs in the company as a whole.

The move is part of a series of changes that will reduce General Motors' capacity by nearly 500,000 units throughout Europe. The closure follows the end of car production at Dagenham last month, following 71 years of production.

Vauxhall's Luton milestones

1905 - Vauxhall Iron Works moves its car factory from London to Luton just two years after the launch of the company's first car. A new 7/9hp car is introduced, also the first four-cylinder model, an 18hp car.
1910 - A Luton-built Vauxhall becomes the first 20hp car to exceed 100mph. Three of the 20hp models are entered into the Prince Henry of Prussia Trial.
1959 - The 2,000,000th vehicle rolls off the line at Luton.
1971 - The 1,000,000th Viva rolls off the line at Luton.
1977 - Cavalier production begins at Luton.
1988 - Cavalier sales pass the 1,000,000 mark.
1989 - £50 million modernisation of Luton plant begins.
1995 - 90 years of car building in Luton. Vectra launched. The last Cavalier, number 1,687,368, leaves Luton plant.
1997 - 250,000th Vectra built.
2000 - 750,000th Vectra produced. Announcement that Luton car plant will close in March 2002.
2001 - Quality checks show Vectra still being manufactured to highest standards.
2002 – Car production at Luton ends

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