The Vauxhall owner Stellantis is poised to announce plans to build a new electric van at its Ellesmere Port plant, securing the immediate future of the site.
The company has been in talks with the UK government over financial support for further investment in the factory on the Wirral in north-west England, which has been considered in jeopardy since the Brexit vote.
Stellantis, formed this year by the merger of Peugeot and Chrysler, has decided to invest in switching the plant from producing the Astra to a new model of electric van. An announcement could come as soon as next week.
The exact government support is unlikely to be disclosed, but could run to around 10% of the total investment, which is believed to be between £300m and £400m. The Stellantis announcement will follow news this week that Nissan is to build a £1bn battery gigafactory in Sunderland, believed to be with a subsidy package from the UK taxpayer of around £100m.
Stellantis declined to comment on the news, which was first reported in Automotive News Europe.
Stellantis executives indicated earlier this year that they were prepared to close the plant, with the loss of around 1,000 remaining jobs, should the government not step in with support.
Disappointing sales of the Astra had combined with the uncertainty of Brexit negotiations, with a deal on tariffs between the EU and the UK only unveiled at the end of the transition period. That deal gives a further grace period for electric vehicle exports and would also allow Stellantis to source its batteries from the continent.
Stellantis’ chief executive, Carlos Tavares, has also hit out at the UK for its “brutal” ban on the sale of new petrol or diesel vehicles from 2030, which will in effect force plants such as Ellesmere Port to switch to electric production or close.