VAUXHALL boss Jonathan Browning has said he is aware of the impact that 900 redundancies would have on families and the community at Ellesmere Port.
But the vice-president of sales and marketing for General Motors Europe said the axing of the third shift last week will enable the plant to bid for the next generation Astra when the parent company considers which European site will get the new build next year.
Speaking at the British International Motor Show in London Dock-lands' ExCel exhibition centre, he said the company asked for 950 voluntary redundancies from the plant's 3,000-strong workforce.
More than 1,000 workers have applied.
He said: 'That process, as painful as it is, is proceeding smoothly.'
He praised the attitude of the Ellesmere Port staff, as the first of the voluntary redundancies took effect ahead of the plant's current annual summer shutdown.
Mr Browning said no decision on the new Astra model will be made until the middle of next year.