Land Rover to axe 4,500 jobs

Business Day - - FRONT PAGE - Agency Staff Lon­don

Brexit-fac­ing Jaguar Land Rover will axe about 4,500 jobs, most of them in the UK, the In­di­anowned car maker said on Thurs­day.

Brexit-fac­ing Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will axe about 4,500 jobs, most of them in the UK, the In­dian-owned car­maker said on Thurs­day, after a slump in Chi­nese sales and as buy­ers dump diesel cars for elec­tric.

“JLR is ex­pand­ing a busi­ness­wide or­gan­i­sa­tion re­view aimed at re­duc­ing the size of its global work­force by around 4,500 peo­ple,” the com­pany said. “This is in ad­di­tion to the 1,500 who left the com­pany dur­ing 2018.”

Owned by In­dia’s Tata Mo­tors, JLR em­ploys 44,000 peo­ple world­wide, 42,500 of which are in Britain.

In a busy day of an­nounce­ments by the car sec­tor, US group Ford said it plans a ma­jor re­struc­tur­ing of its Euro­pean op­er­a­tions, in­clud­ing job cuts, to boost profitabil­ity.

Rolls-Royce Mo­tor Cars said it had no in­ten­tion of switch­ing UK pro­duc­tion abroad de­spite grow­ing con­cerns over the pos­si­ble ef­fect of a no-deal Brexit on the econ­omy.

Ger­man-owned Rolls-Royce sold a record num­ber of lux­ury ve­hi­cles in 2018, with pur­chases soar­ing world­wide, it an­nounced on Thurs­day.

As for JLR, its move to shed more than 10% of its UK work­force is aimed at de­liv­er­ing £2.5bn of cost cuts over 18 months, as the group looks to move fur­ther into the elec­tric car seg­ment amid a huge dropoff in sales of diesel ve­hi­cles.

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

He added that “in­vest­ing in cleaner, smarter, more de­sir­able cars and elec­tri­fy­ing ... fa­cil­i­ties to man­u­fac­ture a fu­ture range of Bri­tish-built elec­tric ve­hi­cles will all form part of build­ing a glob­ally com­pet­i­tive and flour­ish­ing com­pany”.

JLR suf­fered a 21% drop in Chi­nese car sales in 2018, while it has sought to con­tain any pos­si­ble Brexit fall­out.

The com­pany has al­ready moved to en­sure it will still have a plant in­side the EU after Britain’s planned de­par­ture from the bloc on March 29. In Oc­to­ber, JLR opened a €1.4bn fac­tory in Ni­tra, Slo­vakia, its first in con­ti­nen­tal Europe.

In July it warned that a “bad” Brexit deal could jeop­ar­dise planned in­vest­ment of more than $100bn, say­ing the fu­ture was un­pre­dictable with­out free and fric­tion­less trade with the EU and un­re­stricted ac­cess to its sin­gle mar­ket.

Britain’s busi­ness min­is­ter, Greg Clark, said on Thurs­day a no-deal Brexit would be a dis­as­ter for JLR. “They have al­ways been clear that their suc­cess de­pends on ex­ports, in­clud­ing to the rest of the EU.”

He said: “They are one of the prime ex­am­ples of a bril­liant just-in-time man­u­fac­tur­ing process. Given the dif­fi­cul­ties that they are go­ing through ... to add fur­ther costs and fur­ther dis­rup­tion from a no-deal Brexit, it’s clear why they have been so clear why this would be against their in­ter­ests.”

/Reuters

Bri­tish pro­duc­tion: Work­ers ar­rive at Jaguar Land Rover’s Hale­wood plant in Liver­pool, Britain, on Thurs­day.

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