Ryton Plant, Former Peugeot Factory, Ryton-on-Dunmore

Description of this historic site

The fomer Peugeot car plant in Ryton on Dunsmore is situated between the A45 (on the northeast) and the A423 (on the southwest).

Notes about this historic site

1 The factory (known as the Ryton Plant) is wedged between the A45 (on the northeast) and the A423 (on the southwest) in Warwickshire, England. The southeast of the grounds of the factory borders upon Ryton-on-Dunsmore.
The factory was originally constructed to build aircraft engines for World War II. After the war it became the headquarters of the Rootes Group, but when Rootes entered financial difficulties in the 1960’s the plant was taken over by Chrysler, an American car manufacturer . Chrysler itself entered financial difficulties and sold the plant for a symbolic $1.00 to Peugeot in 1978; although, PSA Peugeot Citroën acquired all its debt in the process.
In January 1986, the first Peugeot was made at Ryton – the 309 and the 405 followed two years later. The 309’s successor, the 306, was made at Ryton from 1993 to 2001. The 206 has been made there since 1998, and the 206 SW has been made at Ryton since 2002. The plant has only made vehicles from the 206 range since 2001, in both RHD and LHD configurations and currently is the sole production facility of RHD Peugeot 206s (excluding the CC). Despite this most Peugeot 206s are produced in France.
The factory is small in relation to other car plants with a work force of around 2,500 people; the plant’s weekly output is equivalent to that produced in a day at some of Peugeot’s larger French factories. Because of its size, the facility has to make the most of the available space and machinery is located overhead; it is exceptionally compact.
On April 18, 2006 Jean-Martin Folz, the chief executive of Peugeot Citroën, visited the plant and announced its closure. PSA had previously said that labour costs per unit are higher at Ryton than in mainland Europe. Beginning July 2006 production was slowed by moving from two shifts per day to one. It was originally planned that production would cease in mid 2007, but in October 2006 the closure of the factory was brought forward, because many of the workers had already left. PSA Peugeot Citroën produced their last car at the plant on 2006-12-12. The closure of the plant is expected to be complete in January 2007 with the loss of about 2,300 jobs.[2] The 206 will continue to be made in Slovakia.

2 The Ryton factory was built in 1939 and manufactured aero engines in support of the war effort.
The site was converted to a car factory in 1946 when the Rootes Group, comprising Hillman, Humber, Sunbeam and Talbot, started producing the Sunbeam-Talbot.
In 1948 the Humber Pullman, Humber Snipe and Humber Super Snipe were transferred from Stoke to Ryton, while in the same year Hillman and Sunbeam-Talbot models were all launched.
Between 1952 and 1962 production at Ryton was dominated by the Hillman Pullman, Hawk, Husky and Super series, along with the Hillman Minx.
By 1961 Rootes was in financial trouble and in 1964 Chrysler Europe was formed by the purchase of the English Rootes Group.
Over the next five years Ryton lost the Hillman Super Minx for the new-generation Hillman Hunter, while the last incarnations of the Humber Hawk and Super Snipe Series came and went, as did the Sunbeam Alpine V.
The Hillman Minx and Humber Sceptre were both replaced by new Arrow versions.
The last Singers, the Vogue and Gazelle, lasted until 1970 when they were replaced by the Sunbeam Rapier and Vogue.
In 1967, Ryton became part of the Chrysler Europe operation and Chrysler took financial control.
1969 saw the launch of the Avenger, the first car to be built in the Body in White at Ryton. The same year saw the 150,000th Hunter family car built at Ryton but almost immediately afterwards, Hunter production moved to Linwood in Scotland, along with the Humber Sceptre and Hillman Minx.
In 1970, having posted a loss of some £10 million, Rootes Motors ceased to exist, becoming Chrysler UK. Ryton got a new bodyshop and paintshop.
The 100,000th Hillman Avenger was built in 1971, but production of the Avenger was switched to Scotland in 1977 and the Hillman name was killed off.
In 1978 Hunter production ceased and Chrysler sold out completely to Peugeot of France, with Ryton changing its name to Talbot Motor Company.
The Hunter tooling business was sold to Iran and the car was renamed the Pekan. In 1980 the first Talbot Horizons were built in the UK, while five years later the first British-built Peugeot was produced at Ryton.
For the rest of the 1980s Ryton built the 309 and 405 models, later ceasing in favour of the 306 in 1993.
Production of the 306 ended at Ryton in 1999 and since then it has only made vehicles from the 206 range.

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