Ellesmere Port builds some Opel/Vauxhall Astra five-door hatchbacks and all Sport Tourer wagons, or estates as theyre known here in the UK

Ellesmere Port builds some Opel/Vauxhall Astra five-door hatchbacks and all 'Sport Tourer' wagons, or 'estates' as they're known here in the UK

Vauxhall is calling for greater emphasis on the UK supply base as it sees increasing demand for its Astra models creating further work and employment at the Ellesmere Port factory.

Plant director Tony Francavilla told just-auto work was going on with the UK Automotive Council to address supply issues but more could be done.

"We have been able to get GBP170m (US$278m) of new contracts sourced in the UK, so that is terrific," he said. "But that is a drop in the bucket.

"We are at a huge disadvantage relative to assemblers on the continent, so we have to work together to shore up the supplier base. To me it is a no-brainer - it is a business opportunity."

His comments echo those recently made by Opel/Vauxhall chief executive Nick Reilly who drew attention to a dearth of UK supply manufacturers forcing automakers to import parts with resulting increased shipping expenses.

"Really, there is an opportunity for more and more suppliers to come back into the fray here," said Francavilla. "The Automotive Council and Supply Chain Council [are] active.

"There is work under way. All that needs to be done is that we continue to work together."

Francavilla noted the Ellesmere Port facility had not been affected by supply chain issues following the recent Japanese earthquake experienced by other manufacturers because its parts base was more international.

Earthquake, EVs, present supplier relocation opportunities - Rhys