The sporty new family estate, due in Vauxhall showrooms in March, is said to be smaller outside, bigger inside and lighter than its predecessor.
The first vehicle off the line was a ‘whisper diesel’ model in flip chip silver.
Plant workers were joined by Peter Thom, GM’s vice president of global manufacturing, and Stefan Fesser, plant director at Ellesmere Port.
Mr Thom was visiting to hand over the ‘2015 Winner for Safety’ award gained by the plant.
Mr Fesser also collected the 2015 Winner for Vauxhall/Opel Astra Hatchback Launch award from Jim Deluca, executive vice president, and Mr Thom.
GM says that ‘thanks to the outstanding attitude and work ethic of the employees’ Ellesmere Port beat world-class competition from other plants across Europe to build the new car.
The company points out the Ellesmere Port plant is ‘a significant contributor to the local and national economies’ building more than 5m vehicles since 1964. The factory is a major exporter with more than 50% of production going to 25 European markets.
At full production it is estimated the plant will build about 680 cars each day and 120,000 per year.
“This first Astra Sports Tourer marks another milestone in the great history of Vauxhall manufacturing in the North West,” said Rory Harvey, Vauxhall’s chairman and managing director.
“The all-new Astra is of critical importance to Vauxhall and its manufacturing facility in Ellesmere Port. I’m very proud of the men and women who build this vehicle to world class levels of quality and productivity.”
Like the five-door hatch launched last year, the Sports Tourer is based on an all-new lightweight approach with a new design, powertrains and technology.
It offers ‘much more space for passengers and luggage’ with every component checked for compact design and lightweight materials.
The Astra Sports Tourer also features ground-breaking technology available across Europe which includes a high-speed 4G mobile network with an emergency response notification and stolen vehicle recovery alert.