PSA Group said it has no plans to delay the launch of the next-generation Astra because of uncertainty about how Britain will trade with the EU after Brexit.
Workers at Ellesmere Port, have been told that production of the Astra will be delayeduntil 2022 due to the continuing confusion around Brexit, a source told Automotive News Europe.
A PSA spokesman said the Astra launch will go ahead as planned next year but continued production of the car at Ellesmere Port depends on Britain’s future trading relationship with the EU.
The Astra is a key product for Vauxhall because it is the division’s second best-selling model after the Corsa small hatchback.
It is built in Ellesmere Port and in Gliwice in Poland. Both plants build the five-door Astra hatchback but Ellesmere Port currently is the only plant that builds the Astra Sports Tourer.
PSA said in June that the new Astra would start production in 2021 split between two plants, one of which would be Opel’s Russelsheim plant in Germany.
PSA said five-door and estate versions of the Astra will be built in Ruesselsheim.
The plant has been allocated production of the estate because about 95% of the estate variants are sold in continental Europe, PSA said in a statement. It also confirmed a plug-in hybrid variant of the Astra to be built in Ruesselsheim.
The Astra’s second plant is still to be confirmed, the statement said.
“The allocation of a new vehicle to Ellesmere Port continues to be contingent on the terms of the future trading relationship between the UK and the European Union and ensuring that PSA can make a profitable investment,” the spokesman said.
PSA is seeking assurance from the UK government that there will be no tariffs on cars and parts traveling between the UK and the EU, the spokesman said.
PSA CEO Carlos Tavares has previously said that production of the Astra in Ellesmere Port plant will depend on the UK’s trade deal with the EU after Britain leaves the bloc. Tavares said he wanted the Astra’s second production plant to be Ellesmere Port, but he warned that the factory could be shut down if Britain quits the EU with a bad trade deal.
PSA has axed around 900 jobs at Ellesmere Port since buying Opel/Vauxhall in 2017 in a drive for profitabilty.