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24 September 2014

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Ryton closure

The Ryton plant
The Ryton plant

The history of Ryton

On Tuesday, 18 April Peugeot announced the closure of its Ryton plant. Find out more about the history of the Ryton factory.

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.

last updated: 19/04/06
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