In a statement, Vauxhall said: “Facing challenging European market conditions and a declining passenger car market, Vauxhall needs to adjust production volumes at its Ellesmere Port production facility to the current level of demand and to improve its performance, in order to protect its future.

“Current manufacturing costs at Ellesmere Port are significantly higher than those of the benchmark plants of the PSA Group in France.

“The teams are conscious of the need to accelerate the recovery of plant productivity in order to meet the challenges ahead, while continuously improving the already high level of quality achieved today.”

The four millionth Vauxhall Astra rolled off the production line at the Ellesmere Port factory in September.
The Astra is the sixth most popular new car for UK motorists this year, with more than 34,000 registered between January and July.

Its believed Vauxhall will move Ellesmere Port towards a single shift operation during 2018, with a voluntary separation programme for 400 eligible employees, around a quarter of the plant’s staff.

It is estimated that around 400 of the Ellesmere Port workforce are from the north east Wales area and up to a dozen Welsh firms supply the factory.

The plant is one of two Astra production factories in Europe along with Gliwice in Poland.