Vauxhall reduced sales forces factories furlough

A lack of demand for new cars as the “Eurocrisis” deepens has led Vauxhall to shut down both, Ellesmere Port and Luton, UK factories for a week.

The paid “down week” will start on September 24 and comes just weeks after Ellesmere Port celebrated winning the new contract for the next Vauxhall Astra.

Ellesmere Port’s fate had been hanging in the balance for months prior to the decision by Vauxhall’s parent company, GM, to build the new hatchback in Britain. Despite getting the green light to build the next Astra from 2015 – ahead of a rival plant in Germany – Ellesmere Port will still face a furlough.

The shutdown is a worrying twist for the UK car industry. At the height of the credit crunch a number of car manufacturing facilities in the UK were forced to shut down as new car demand waned.

Despite car sales rising in the UK this year, sales in southern Europe have plummeted, especially in crisis-hit Greece and Spain. Many will be hoping Vauxhall’s announcement doesn’t have a domino effect on other car facilties in the UK.

A spokesperson disclosed, “As a major exporter and following the downturn in mainland Europe, Vauxhall manufacturing operations in Ellesmere Port and in Luton are implementing a down week from September 24.

“This is to avoid building up stock by balancing inventory with customer orders. Hours lost will be paid as normal and ‘banked’ for payback in the future according to volume requirements.

“In addition, new robots will be installed during the down week in September at the Luton Van Plant which is gearing up for the next generation Vivaro, due to start production in 2014.”