Stellantis-owned brand Vauxhall is planning to halt car production at its threatened Ellesmere Port plant for six shifts next week, according to a BBC report.

The BBC report said the temporary shutdown at the plant in northwest England, which employs more than 1,000 people and makes the current Astra model, will begin from Monday.

The plant has been operating on a single shift basis in recent years.

The company told the BBC that the shutdown has nothing to do with current talks over the plant's uncertain future, but that the company adjusts production according to market trends.

Vauxhall's parent company, the recently formed Stellantis, has been in discussions with the UK government for weeks over conditions for the future of the plant – including the possibility of financial support for electric vehicle production.

Stellantis is said to be concerned over 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.

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Future battery production capacity in Britain could also be a factor, especially in the context of post-Brexit trade rules (such as rules of origin) applying to EU market exports.

Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said in January that the 2030 date for ending ICE sales in the UK jeopardised the business model applying to the plant.

Other options for the plant are said to include continuing to make combustion engine cars with a wind-down ahead of 2030.

The next generation Astra car model for 2022 – on a whole new platform, shared with PSA models – has been confirmed to be built at Ruesselsheim (Germany), with Stellantis participant PSA suggesting at various times over the past year that it wants Ellesmere Port to be the second European plant making it.

One further problem for the plant is a long-term decline in the European market for C-segment hatchbacks such as the Astra, meaning that plant volumes for such models are much lower than they would have been twenty years ago, making a switch to an as yet unspecified future electric vehicle a more important consideration.

See also: Stellantis still seeking Ellesmere Port UK commitment – CEO