The official announcement is expected any day now, but the odds of Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port plant surviving appear to have improved.

Rumours from Germany suggest that General Motors' current plan is to concentrate Astra production in Poland and the UK, while stopping the Astra production lines in two German factories, Bochum and Russelsheim. If true, Bochum would then close and Russelsheim would concentrate on the Insignia, and weirdly, could make Citroens (see story here).

The UK government has mounted an intense lobbying campaign to save Ellesmere Port. It has pointed out that the UK factory is lower cost than any of GM's other western European factories (although the current rise of the pound is reducing the advantage on a daily basis), and it is extremely productive.

There will be a firestorm in Germany if the UK plant is saved at the expense of a German factory. Already the prime ministers of four German states have issued a strongly-worded statement that production must remain in Germany. British workers would retort that Germany is the country that has spent the last two years telling the rest of Europe that it must become competitive and live by the market.