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Report: Brexit Could Lead Vauxhall to Leave Ellesmere Port

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Vauxhall Astra Union Jack

There has been an uneasy quiet in the automotive industry since the United Kingdom passed the Brexit referendum that will remove it from the European Union. International auto brands like BMW, Ford, and Nissan all warned the UK against voting yes, promising that the decision to leave the EU would subsequently result in serious consideration about picking up stakes and moving industry out of the UK.

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According to Automotive News Europe, industry analysts are forecasting that General Motors may ultimately be the first to move operations away from the UK and toward mainland Europe. A report from LMC Automotive states that rising costs caused by the exit from the European Union could see production of the Vauxhall/Opel Astra moved from its current home at Ellesmere Port in England to Germany or Poland.

Cardiff Business School’s emeritus professor of motor industry economics, Garel Rhys, says that Ellesmere Port is at a greater risk for closure due to its “low anchorage.” Only about 25% of parts used at Ellesmere Port are locally-sourced.

GM also builds the Vauxhall Vivaro at its Luton, England plant.

It is forecasted that a plant closure would not likely occur until 2021 when the next-generation Astra would be on the docket, but it would be a move necessitated by EU-imposed tariffs on UK exports in retaliation for the Brexit vote. In addition to being manufactured at Ellesmere Port, GM builds the Astra at its plant in Gliwice, Poland.

In a statement to Automotive News, a Vauxhall spokesperson said that things are “business as usual” until the situation between the UK and EU resolves.

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News Source: Automotive News Europe (subscription required)