Vauxhall flying flag for Astra brightspot amid gloom

The Union Flag created out of 128 Vauxhall Astras at the Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire, where it

The Union Flag created out of 128 Vauxhall Astras at the Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire, where it is built, to mark the launch of the all-new seventh-generation model. - Credit: supplied

As the ‘emissiongate’ scandal grabbed the headlines and sent Volkswagen into motoring meltdown, all the adverse publicity rather stole the thunder from a milestone for Vauxhall and an ingenious celebration.

Vauxhall workers in Britain were really ‘flying’ the flag for everything great about the UK motor industry when it launched the all-new seventh-generation Astra.

To celebrate the new Astra, workers at the Ellesmere Port manufacturing plant in Cheshire– home of the Astra for more than 36 years – choreographed 128 new models to create the image of the Union Flag.

This new Astra is the 11th major model-line to be built at Ellesmere Port and guarantees 2,000 jobs at the plant over the next decade. The plant secured a long-term contract in 2012 and a £140m investment which further demonstrates the brand’s continued commitment to manufacturing the iconic car in Britain.

The patriotic image, orchestrated in less than 24 hours, pays tribute to more than 36 years of manufacturing the British-built best-seller, which has seen more than five million cars roll off the Ellesmere Port production line. Three million have been sold in the UK alone – with 50,000 in the past 12 months and two million exported to 25 European markets. It is estimated that at full production in 2016, the plant will build around 680 Astras per day with further growth in subsequent years.

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The British success story extends beyond the Astra itself – as for more than half a century, Ellesmere Port has been the manufacturing home of every compact class Vauxhall in the UK. With nearly 25% of parts sourced locally from UK suppliers, the plant is a significant contributor the local economy and the continued investment at the facility is set to boost UK manufacturing, utilities, construction, transportation and storage companies by at least £70m.

The all-new Astra, which is lighter than ever before, with new powertrains and cutting-edge technology, is in showrooms next month, priced from £15,295 on the road.

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