Stellantis to start electric van production at UK Luton plant in 2025

LONDON, (Reuters) – Stellantis said on Thursday it will launch production of medium-sized electric vans in 2025 at its Luton plant in England, providing some long-term certainty for a factory that has been producing vans for 92 years.

The world’s fourth-largest automaker by sales said starting in the spring next year Luton will produce five electric models including the Vauxhall Vivaro Electric, Peugeot E-Expert and Fiat Professional E-Scudo in both right- and left-hand drive versions.

Stellantis already makes small electric vans at its other UK plant in Ellesemere Port.

The automaker said the Luton plant will also continue to make combustion engine models. It did not say what sort of investment producing the new electric models would require.

Existing car assembly plants across Europe making fossil-fuel models have been vying for future electric models to keep them open beyond an effective European Union ban on combustion-engine cars comes into effect in 2035.

Stellantis’ announcement comes after Nissan said in November it would invest 1.12 billion pounds ($1.41 billion) to build two electric models at its UK plant and India’s Tata Group said last July it would build a 4 billion pound EV battery plant in Britain to supply its Jaguar Land Rover plants.

“This is a further vote of confidence in the UK economy and exciting news that shows our plan for the auto industry is working,” UK industry minister Nusrat Ghani said in a statement.

As EV sales have cooled, Britain’s auto industry has called on the UK to subsidize purchases to encourage more consumers and businesses to switch to electric.

“Whilst this decision demonstrates Stellantis’ confidence in the plant, this… requires the UK Government to stimulate more demand in the electric vehicle market and support manufacturers that invest in the UK for a sustainable transition,” Stellantis’ UK group managing director Maria Grazia Davino said in a statement.

($1 = 0.7918 pound)

Reporting by Nick Carey; editing by Jonathan Oatis