General Motors has announced that the Vauxhall Vivaro van will continue to be built at the company’s factory in Luton, ending the threat of closure looming over the site.
The future of the factory and its 1,500 employees has been in constant question over the last couple of years. But an extension to an agreement with Renault to co-develop the van – which translates to the Trafic model for the French company – has now been agreed.
“Consequently, the Luton plant will continue to play an important role in the Opel/Vauxhall manufacturing network,” said GM in a statement.
Luton – the only remaining major manufacturer of commercial vans left in the UK – will produce 62,000 units of the new model each year.
Len McCluskey, general secretary of the union Unite said the development was “fantastic news”.
“It secures the future of Vauxhall in Luton and puts to rest any uncertainty over jobs,” he said. “Without a new model Luton would have closed, instead the plant has work until at least 2020 and 1,500 jobs have been secured.
“The efforts of Vauxhall’s chairman, Nick Reilly, were pivotal in securing an agreement with Renault and we are extremely grateful for the part he played. This decision is also down to the hard work of the workforce and savings they helped deliver.”