The group resulting from the merger between PSA and FCA will invest 100 million pounds (117 million euros) to develop the historic Vauxhall brand plant in the UK, focusing it on the production of “100% electric” vans.
Carmaker Stellantis will invest £100 million to develop its historic Vauxhall brand plant in north-west England, focusing on “100% electric” production of vans, the group announced on Tuesday, July 6. .
Service production for four brands
From the end of 2022, the Ellesmere Port-based site will produce eight types of electric vehicles: four “light commercial vehicles” under the brands Vauxhall, Peugeot, Opel and Citroën, and their four versions intended for individuals, Stellantis explained in communication. . In detail, it will be Combo-e and Combo-e Life in Opel/Vauxhall, e-Partner and e-Rifter in Peugeot and e-Berlingo in Citroën.
“With the support of the British government, Stellantis is investing 100 million pounds (about 117 million euros, editor’s note) to ensure the future of 100% electricity in the factory” built in 1962, also noted the group, without giving further details on. Government content “help”.
Stellantis has been saying for months that the future of Ellesmere Port is at stake and that one of the options would be to build an electric car there, provided it receives significant support from the British government, which wants to ban the sale of petrol cars in the area. England from 2030.
1,000 direct jobs were at risk, and, according to the Coalition, 7,000 indirect jobs in the UK supply chain.
“This investment shows our commitment to England and Ellesmere Port, commented Stellantis general manager Carlos Tavares, quoted in a press release. Vauxhall has produced cars in England since 1903 and we will continue”.
The plant’s future has been in doubt since Stellantis announced that its new Opel/Vauxhall model, the Astra, will not be manufactured there.
Acquired in 2017 from General Motors, this industrial site has been in the hot seat for several years, mainly because of the uncertainty of Brexit, even if the trade agreement signed before Christmas between London and Brussels, seemed to be good for the automotive industry, he had ensured.
Vauxhall is one of five PSA brands (Opel, Peugeot, Citroën and DS), itself a partner of Fiat-Chysler (FCA) within Stellantis. The latter, with 14 brands, has experienced a steady recovery in sales since the beginning of the year, like the entire industry. On the other hand, its production is hampered by the global shortage of electronic chips.
“Today’s decision will not only propel Ellesmere Port towards a cleaner future, but also secure thousands of jobs in the region,” UK Trade Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said in a statement.
“A big vote of confidence in our economy”
Union General Secretary Len McCluskey hailed “a great day which gives Ellesmere Port’s world-class workforce the future they deserve”, noting that his organization has “fought for years to ensure the future of the site”.
The UK government has also reiterated that it is banking on investment in electric cars and batteries as part of a “green industrial revolution” to balance the economy between the UK’s regions, and achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.
London is ramping up its environmental campaign in the run-up to the COP26 global climate change conference, which will be held in Glasgow in November.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed on Twitter the news of the announcement “that Stellantis is opening Europe’s first factory for mass production of electric vehicles here in the UK”.
“It’s a huge vote of confidence in our economy…and in our wonderful relationship after Brexit,” he added.
The remarks echoed his comments last week when Japanese carmaker Nissan announced plans to build a large battery plant in the UK near its Sunderland site, where it will also make a new electric car, again with investment from the public authority.