Vauxhall has revealed its plans to slash 400 jobs (nearly a quarter of the workforce) at its factory that is located in Ellesmere Port by the end of 2017.
Under 1,800 people work at the Cheshire plant, which has produced the Astra since 1979, and produces around 680 of them every day.
Vauxhall stated that it made the decision because of the “challenging European market conditions and a declining passenger car market.”
“Vauxhall needs to adjust production volumes at its Ellesmere Port production facility to the current level of demand and to improve its performance, in order to protect its future,” said the company.
The carmaker plans to shift towards a “single shift operation” in 2018, saying that a plan had been set in place for a “voluntary separation programme” amounting to about 400 heads by the end of this year.
The demand for five-door family cars such as the Astra is declining, while the market for SUVs is developing.
Even so, this year, it has been the sixth most popular new car for motorists. Above 34,000 were registered between the period of January and July.
In September, the Ellesmere production plant produced its four millionth Astra.
In July, The European Commission approved a £1.9bn deal for PSA Group, a French car giant, to buy Opel, which owns Peugeot, Citroen, and Vauxhall.
In March, the company also agreed to acquire the loss-making European arm of General Motors.
The takeover raised concerns in the United Kingdom regarding the impact on jobs at Vauxhall plants and supply companies.