Stellantis is marking 60 years of vehicle manufacturing at its Ellesmere Port plant, beginning when an HA Vauxhall Viva rolled off the assembly line on 1 June 1964.

The former RAF site Hooton site was bought by then General Motors owned Vauxhall Motors which originally developed the plant as a subassembly and engine production centre to supply the existing Dunstable (Bedford Truck) and Luton (Vauxhall cars) factories.

The location was chosen in part to the then government policy of relocating industry to areas of higher unemployment, of which the Merseyside region was one.

The first components came off the production line in November 1962.

However, the site was quickly developed for car production with the first HA Viva – Vauxhall’s first small car model launched in 1963 – coming off the new assembly line in June 1964.

The plant built the HB and HC successor models until 1979 plus, from 1975, variants of the Chevette. Employment peaked that year, at 12,000.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

In 1980, the plant exported the first Opel badged cars from the UK, with 2,000 Chevette hatchbacks shipped for sale in West Germany through the Opel dealer network. Opel had also built its own version of the GM ‘world’ T-Car model line called Kadett.

From 1980, Ellesmere Port built seven generations of the Vauxhall Astra. During its lifetime, the plant produced a million Vivas, 250,000 Chevettes, and 4.1m Astras, many of which were exported branded Opel.

GM exited Europe and sold the plant to PSA in 2017 and ownership changed again in 2021 after PSA was merged with FCA to create Stellantis.

The plant is now the UK’s first EV only volume manufacturing plant following a GBP100m investment by its latest owner. EV production began in September 2023, with the Vauxhall/Opel Combo Electric, Citroen e-Berlingo, Fiat e-Doblo and Peugeot E-Partner being produced there. Vehicles are exported to 20 countries.

In 1970 Ellesmere Port occupied 350,000m2 but has since undergone several key changes, including the addition of a battery assembly shop, upgraded general assembly and relocation of the body shop. This has contributed to a 60% reduction of the total site area for improved energy efficiency and productivity. At 118,000m2, the entire plant is now a similar size to the previous bodyshop.

From next year, the old IBC (Isuzu Bedford Company) vehicles plant at Luton will begin producing medium electric vans for Vauxhall, Opel, Citroen, Peugeot and Fiat Professional.

The rest of the vast Luton site, once home to the Vauxhall car manufacturing factories supplied by Ellesmere Port, has been redeveloped for housing.