General Motors UK offshoot Vauxhall has officially opened its new Supply In-Line Sequencing (SILS) building at its Ellesmere Port plant in north-west England.

In one of the most complex automotive supply chain management projects in Europe, the warehouse - the size of more than five football pitches - will be operated by global logistics company Ryder plc to support production of both the Astra and Vectra ranges. The new Vectra, based on GM's Epsilon platform, has been transferred from the company's Luton factory which will be closed once production of the current model ends in March.

The SILS building, located on a supplier park adjacent to the factory, will receive all incoming supplier parts, put components and sub-assemblies in the correct production sequence, and deliver directly to the line.

Arvin Jones, director of manufacturing, said: "This new facility will enable us to take on the multi-model challenge, improve quality and efficiency, and move us into a modern lean manufacturing plant."

Ellesmere Port opened in 1963 to build the Viva as part of a government plan, that mostly failed after a few years, to bring employment to deprived areas. In recent years the plant has built Astras for UK and export markets and V6 engines.

GM last year announced the closure of Luton, Vauxhall's main manufacturing base since 1903, and the conversion of Ellesmere Port to a multi-model flexible plant. Some Luton staff were offered jobs at the adjacent IBC plant which builds Izuzu Rodeo-based Frontera SUV and jointly-developed Renault / Opel / Vauxhall-badged Trafic / Vivaro vans.