Stellantis NV will convert its lone U.K. car factory to make electric vans, ending months of anguish at an almost 60-year-old plant threatened by the economic fallout from Brexit.
The automaker will spend 100 million pounds ($138 million) retooling its Ellesmere Port plant near Liverpool, which employs roughly 1,000 people. Production of Vauxhall and Opel Astras will end early next year, and output of Vauxhall, Opel, Peugeot and Citroen vans will begin by the end of 2022.
Securing the future of the factory is a boon to local workers and the U.K. government, which has been trying to safeguard the nation’s auto industry amid an accelerating shift to electric vehicles. It’s the latest post-Brexit boost for Prime Minister Boris Johnson after Nissan Motor Co. last week announced plans to create a new 1 billion-pound EV and battery hub in northern England.
“It’s a huge vote of confidence in our economy, in the people of Ellesmere Port and in our fantastic post-Brexit trading relationships,” Johnson said in a video message.
As part of the conversion, Stellantis will build a new body shop and on-site battery pack assembly. The carmaker formed from the merger of PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler will shrink how much of the site it uses to reduce inefficiencies and consider redeveloping excess land.
Read more: Bloomberg