It’s no secret that the British car industry has been struggling with the recent economic downturn, with sales of new cars dropping. Many consumers are now choosing to buy used cars in order to save money, which has caused a negative knock-on effect for the car production industry. In September 2012, car production was suspended for a week at Vauxhall’s plants in Ellesmere Port and Luton due to falling car sales over the previous 11 months.
A statement from Vauxhall claimed that:
“At our manufacturing operations we are addressing market fluctuations as they occur, upturns with extra shifts, downturns with down days. This is normal working practice in order to match supply and demand – vehicles are built to customer order not for stock.”
Closing the plants for five days in a row was the most energy efficient way, and staff were paid as normal. However, despite reassurances from the company, it’s sure to have caused worry to the 3,200 people who work across the two locations – especially with companies such as Saab going into administration in recent years.
That said, Vauxhall’s employees shouldn’t be too quick to look for another job; despite the brief halt in production, the prognosis for the UK car industry in 2013 is looking up. UK car sales have hit their largest year-on-year increase in more than a decade, with over 2 million vehicles sold last year. The Vauxhall Corsa was the 2nd most popular new car with 89,000 units sold, and the Vauxhall Astra, made in Ellesmere Port, was fourth with 63,000 cars sold. Car production has also reached a four year high. Demand from faster-growing global markets is making up for the current weaknesses in the European economy, and exports of British vehicles are up 8%.
The halt in production may have sparked concern, but it seems that, at least for now, there will still be new Vauxhalls for sale for plenty of years to come.