Stellantis says it is seeking “commitments and support” from the UK government as the newly-combined manufacturer mulls the future of its Ellesmere Port plant in North West England.

The factory produces the current Astra model, but Vauxhall parent company, Stellantis, has yet to decide on whether to make the next generation model at the site.

The plant employs around 1,000 people directly and has been operating on a single shift in recent years.

Stellantis is said to have concerns surrounding potential conditions for electric vehicle production at the plant – particularly in the light of the UK government’s decision to ban sales of ICE light vehicles in Britain from 2030.

“I can confirm we have good discussions with the UK government – they are open-minded,” said Stellantis CEO, Carlos Tavares at a briefing today (3 March) from Paris. “But of course this is a business. I can only make decisions based on facts and commitments.

“We need to make sure we get from the UK government, commitment and support. We should not spend R&D if it does not make sense. We believe in the UK market – we have a strong British brand called Vauxhall and we protect our people in Ellesmere Port. We respect our union partners.

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“We figured out the need for these electrified products in the UK. Those products already exist somewhere else, so why would we double the sourcing in Europe for the same kind of products when we are able to meet all the requirements of the Brexit deal.

“If there is an intention to protect the automotive industry in the UK, then of course from a pure governance perspective, I can only double the sourcing of those products if I am supported by the UK government. Discussions are productive and positive and they are on-going.

“If there is no commitment, we can’t decide. When is the UK government going to commit – this is what we need to understand and how. We have deep respect for our people and our union partners and we want to support our Vauxhall brand in the UK.”