Almost 40 years after the first Astra rolled off the production line at Vauxhall’s in Ellesmere Port, proud employees have marked a landmark moment of the four millionth Brit-built favourite leaving the factory.

The event saw a choreographed display of 236 Astra Sport Tourers to spell out the feat.

Vauxhall says manufacture of the iconic British car since 1981 has seen the North Road plant providing employment to generations of local families, ploughing millions into the local economy.

The striking celebratory line-up, which took 12 hours, 57 red and 179 white cars to assemble, spelled out the achievement in Astra’s trademark red, honouring the thousands of employees who have contributed to the momentous milestone.

Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port has produced its four millionth Astra
Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port has produced its four millionth Astra

Ellesmere Port has produced all seven generations of the famous Astra, exporting more than two million vehicles to 25 European markets and even Australia in the early years.

Today the factory employs nearly 2,000 people while many more depend on the plant in the supply chain as it builds approximately 680 Astras a day.

Denis Chick, director of communications at Vauxhall Motors said: “The Vauxhall Astra has been one of Britain’s best-selling and loved cars for almost four decades and we’re proud to manufacture it here in the UK at Ellesmere Port.

“We felt the production of our four millionth Astra was worth celebrating and, as always, the team at Ellesmere Port has stepped up to the challenge by creating this stunning image.”

Vauxhall has invested more than £200m in the Ellesmere Port factory in recent years and it remains a stalwart of British manufacturing.

With nearly 80% of Ellesmere Port vehicles currently exported out of the UK, Vauxhall believes the plant is set to continue as a major supplier to customers both home and abroad.

  • 10 things you didn’t know about the Vauxhall Astra:
  1. The Vauxhall Astra replaced the Viva and was the first Vauxhall model with front wheel drive.
  2. One in four Brits has owned or driven an Astra.
  3. The height of four million Astras is the equivalent to 62,500 Big Bens.
  4. Collectively we’ve driven 216 billion miles in Astras – that’s enough to drive to the sun and back 1,161 times.
  5. The length of four million Astras would take you to China and back.
  6. The name of the Vauxhall Astra derives from the Latin Astralis meaning the stars.
  7. The Astra has always been a popular police patrol car – the Mk6 model was used by 54 different constabularies.
  8. Multi-award winning, the Astra most recently won European Car of the Year in 2016.
  9. The current Astra was designed by a team led by Brits Mark Adams and Malcolm Ward.
  10. The Astra became the fourth ‘Reasonably Priced Car’ on BBC Top Gear and driven by Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Olly Murs, Aaron Paul and Warwick Davis.