Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port: Still no date set for reopening

Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant will not necessarily reopen in September as expected, with the decision depending on “demand”, according to the UK boss of its parent firm PSA.

Vauxhall announced in early June that it would not reopen until after 1 September due to “the commercial situation” of the Astra model built there, but today PSA managing director Alison Jones said that the factory reopening in September was not a done deal.

Talking on the FT’s Digital Future of the Car webinar, Jones said: “We haven’t given [Ellesmere Port] a firm date for reopening – we’ve been clear that we need to see demand. We’ve been clear that we need to see demand to open each and every one of our factories across the world. We are working closely with trade unions.”

Vauxhall’s Luton facility, where the Vauxhall/Opel Vivaro, Peugeot Expert and Citroën Dispatch are built, was one of the earliest plants to reopen in May having been closed since March. With strong demand for its commercial models, PSA has introduced a third shift at that site, with staff redeployed from Ellesmere Port to Luton for a temporary period on a voluntary basis.

Talking about its approach to reopening plants, Jones commented: “Our response has been a combination of health – we were one of the first to get our plants operating safely with barrier protocols – and then the economic situation. We’re not opening our plants until we know that demand is there. It’s no good making cars and vans and then parking them in a car park. Health is our priority and demand second.”