Vauxhall will build the next Vectra model at its Ellesmere Port plant near Liverpool, the BBC reported.

The £200m investment is said to safeguard more than 1,200 jobs.

The BBC said that the UK arm of General Motors required £5m in government grants to win the work to build 180,000 new-style Vectra cars starting in 2002.

The plant, currently a major source of the smaller Astra model, was bidding against a rival GM factory in Antwerp, Belgium.

Vauxhall recently announced the closure of its Luton factory, in Bedfordshire north of London, with the loss of 2,000 jobs, when production of the current model Vectra ends next year.

GM Europe, which sells cars under the Opel brand in continental Europe and Ireland, and as Vauxhalls in the UK, is cutting costs because profits have slumped.