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    Member company news: Vauxhall wins European Car of the Year 2016 with the Astra and also celebrates the first Astra Sports Tourer built at Ellesmere Port

    Vauxhall’s all-new British-built Astra has been named European Car of the Year 2016 at the 86th Geneva Motor Show…

    The award was decided by 58 leading automotive journalists from around Europe. It was presented to Vauxhall/Opel CEO Dr Karl-Thomas Neumann by Car of the Year President Hakan Matson on the eve of the first press day of the Geneva International Motor Show. The Astra received a total of 309 points versus 294 for the Volvo XC90 and 202 for the Mazda MX-5.

    “We’re delighted the Astra has been recognised for yet another award” said Rory Harvey, Vauxhall’s Chairman and Managing Director. “To be named European Car of the Year by judges throughout Europe is a testament to the hard work that has gone into the Astra. This is the new model’s first full year of sales, and it has already been well-received.”

    This year is the 52nd European Car of the Year awards and the Astra’s win marks the fifth Car of the Year title for Opel/Vauxhall. The previous winners were the Astra Mk2, Omega A, Insignia and Ampera.

    This year has already proven to be a positive one for the model, with this award the latest in a list that also includes a Family Car category win at the What Car? Awards and being named Scottish Car of the Year. More than 40 new cars were among the list of contenders and the

    The Astra emerged as the winner from a field of seven Car of the Year finalists.

    Vauxhall and sister company Opel also recently celebrated the official start of Astra Sports Tourer production at its plant in Ellesmere Port, United Kingdom.

    The first vehicle to roll off the production line in Cheshire on 16th February 2016 was an Elite 1.6CDTi, in Flip Chip Silver.

    Jubilant plant workers were joined by Peter Thom, General Motors’ Vice President Global Manufacturing and Stefan Fesser, Ellesmere Port Plant Director. Thom was visiting to hand over the 2015 Winner for Safety award, won by the plant. Fesser also collected 2015 Winner for Vauxhall/Opel Astra Hatchback Launch awarded by Jim Deluca, Executive Vice President and Thom. Thanks to the outstanding attitude and work ethic of the employees, the plant beat world-class competition from across Europe to build the new car.

    The Ellesmere Port Plant is a significant contributor to the local and national economies building over five million vehicles since 1964. The factory is a major exporter with 52 per cent of production going to 25 European markets. At full production it is estimated the plant will build around 680 cars per day and 120,000 per year.

    UK firms, including those in manufacturing, utilities, construction, transportation and storage, benefit from almost £70 million gross value added directly from Vauxhall’s investment in Ellesmere Port.

    “This first Astra Sports Tourer marks another milestone in the great history of Vauxhall manufacturing in the North West,” said Rory Harvey, Vauxhall’s Chairman and Managing Director. “The all-new Astra is of critical importance to Vauxhall and its manufacturing facility in Ellesmere Port. I’m very proud of the men and women who build this vehicle to world class levels of quality and productivity.”

    Like its five-door hatch sibling, the Sports Tourer is based on an all-new lightweight vehicle architecture with a new design, powertrains and technology.

    The powertrain portfolio features petrol and diesel units ranging from 100PS to 200PS, including an all-new 1.4-litre (150PS) ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo and the recently-launched 1.6-litre CDTi Whisper Diesel. The 200PS version of the 1.6-litre ECOTEC petrol will celebrate its world premiere at Frankfurt.

    Depending on the model and trim level it is up to 200kg lighter than its predecessor. The completely new vehicle architecture plays a major role in the weight reduction. Every component was checked for compact design and lightweight materials. The body shell weight alone was reduced by 20 per cent from 357kg to 280kg.

    European Regional Development Fund Northern Powerhouse
    Partners Department for Business Innovation and Skills Finance Birmingham