Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer, Ellesmere PortUK – The first vehicle to roll off the line at Vauxhall’s Cheshire plant was an Elite 1.6CDTi. Ellesmere Port was allocated production of the new model from among GM’s European plants.

“This first Astra Sports Tourer marks another milestone in the great history of Vauxhall manufacturing in the North West,” said Rory Harvey, chairman and MD of Vauxhall. “The all-new Astra is of critical importance to Vauxhall and its manufacturing facility in Ellesmere Port.”

Like its five-door, hatchback sibling, the Sports Tourer is based on a new, lightweight vehicle architecture and new powertrain options. Vauxhall says it is 200kg lighter than its predecessor, depending on the model and trim level, with the body shell alone reduced by 20% to 280kg. The powertrain portfolio features petrol and diesel units ranging from 100PS to 200PS, including a new, 1.4-litre (150PS) Ecotec direct-injection turbo and the recently launched, 1.6-litre CDTi Whisper Diesel.

Ellesmere Port has built more than 5m vehicles since 1964 and at full capacity can now make around 680 units per day or 120,000 per year, exporting 52% of its production to 25 European markets. Last year, GM recognised Ellesmere Port with two awards: Winner for safety and Winner for Vauxhall/Opel Astra Hatchback Launch.