Jaguar Land Rover cutting 4,500 jobs

Clay Curtis
January 10, 2019

"We are taking decisive action to deliver long-term growth, in the face of multiple geopolitical and regulatory disruptions as well as technology challenges facing the automotive industry", said Ralf Speth, CEO, JLR.

The company builds a higher proportion of its cars in Britain than any other major or medium-sized automaker and has spent millions of pounds preparing for Brexit, in case there are tariffs or customs checks between the United Kingdom and Europe.

A trade war between China and the United States combined with Britain's pending exit from the European Union has fragmented once global markets, forcing auto makers to reassess the profitability of individual models and locations.

Jaguar employs 44,000 workers at sites in Halewood on Merseyside and Solihull, Castle Bromwich and Wolverhampton in the West Midlands.

The jobs will be lost mostly in office-based roles, including management, marketing and support staff, the company pledged.

The company has boosted its workforce at new plants in China and Slovakia in recent years.

The turnaround plan hinges around 2.5 billion pound cash savings, which will be materialised by cutting costs and improving cash flows. The luxury carmaker, owned by India's Tata, says the cuts will be in addition to the 1,500 people who left the business in 2018.

"In light of the continuing headwinds impacting the vehicle industry, we are making some temporary adjustments to our production schedules at Castle Bromwich", the company said.

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Trade tensions between the United States and China have made Chinese consumers more cautious. JLR said it regularly reviewed "its production schedules to ensure market demand is balanced globally".

"This is not about making the business today more efficient but completely redesigning it", Ford's European president Steve Armstrong told the FT.

Britain's business minister Greg Clark said a no-deal Brexit would be a disaster for the firm.

General Motors said in November it would lay off 14,000 factory and white-collar workers in North America and put five plants up for possible closure as it restructures to cut costs and focus more on autonomous and electric technology. Jaguar Land Rover again found itself bearing the brunt of the impact, with its sales falling by 50 per cent against an overall industry decline of just 6 per cent.

Under the plan, employment costs and employment levels will be reduced, and the job losses will be in thousands, the agency reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The move, also thought to be a result of lower demand for diesel cars, forms part of cost-cutting plan worth £2.5bn, which was devised after JLR suffered hefty financial losses in 2018.

"With record levels of new investment and models set to come on stream in its United Kingdom factories we look for Jaguar Land Rover to continue to be a global success and the jewel in Britain's manufacturing crown".

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