EMPLOYEES at Ellesmere Port's Vauxhall plant today celebrated the landmark moment as the four millionth Astra rolled off the production line.

As the home of the Vauxhall Astra, Ellesmere Port has been making the Brit-built car for almost 40 years and the moment was marked with a choreographed display of 236 Astra Sport Tourers to spell out the achievement.

Making the iconic British car since 1979, the plant has provided employment to generations of local families, plowing millions into the local economy.

The celebratory image, 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.

Ellesmere Port has produced all seven generations of the famous Astra, exporting over two million vehicles to 25 European markets and even Australia in the early years. Today it employs nearly 2,000 people and many more depend on it 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 in Cheshire. We felt the production of our 4 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 Motors has invested over £200 millionin the Ellesmere Port factory in recentyears and it remains a stalwart of British manufacturing. With nearly 80% of Ellesmere Port vehicles currently exported out of the UK, it’s set to continue as a major supplier to customers both home and abroad.

10 things you didn’t know about the Vauxhall Astra

The Vauxhall Astra replaced the Viva and was the first Vauxhall model with front wheel drive

One in four Brits has owned or driven an Astra

The height of 4 million Astras is the equivalent to 62,500 Big Bens

Collectively we’ve driven 216 billion miles in Astras – that’s enough to drive to the sun and back 1, 161 times

The length of 4 million Astras would take you to China and back

The name of the Vauxhall Astra derives from the Latin Astralis meaning the stars

The Astra has always been a popular Police patrol car – the Mk6 model was used by 54 different constabularies

Multi-award winning, the Astra most recently won European Car of the Year in 2016

Not just Brit-built, the current Astra was designed by a team led by Brits Mark Adams and Malcolm Ward

The Astra became the fourth ‘Reasonably Priced Car’ on BBC Top Gear and driven by Margot “Harley Quinn” Robbie, Will Smith, Olly Murs, Aaron Paul and Warwick Davis