Mas­sive job cuts as Jaguar faces a slump in diesel car sales

Cape Times - - WORLD - COSTAS PITAS

BRITAIN’s big­gest car­maker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is set to an­nounce “sub­stan­tial” job cuts in the thou­sands, a source said, as the com­pany faces dou­ble-digit drops in de­mand in China and a slump in sales for diesel cars in Europe.

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

JLR swung to a loss of £354 mil­lion (about R6.279bn) be­tween April and Septem­ber and had al­ready in 2018 cut nearly 1 000 roles in Britain, shut its Soli­hull plant for two weeks and an­nounced a three-day week at its Cas­tle Bromwich site.

The Tata Mo­tors-owned com­pany has un­veiled plans to cut costs and im­prove cash flows by £2.5bn, in­clud­ing “re­duc­ing em­ploy­ment costs and em­ploy­ment lev­els”.

Those cuts will be “sub­stan­tial” and run into the thou­sands, the source said.

“The an­nounce­ment on job losses will be sub­stan­tial, af­fect­ing man­age­rial, re­search, sales, de­sign,” said the source, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity.

Pro­duc­tion-line staff will not be af­fected “at this stage,” said the source.

The com­pany, which em­ploys nearly 40 000 peo­ple in Britain and has been boost­ing its work­force at new plants in China and Slo­vakia in re­cent years, de­clined to com­ment when con­tacted yes­ter­day.

JLR, which be­came Britain’s big­gest car­maker in 2016, had been on course to build about 1 mil­lion ve­hi­cles by the turn of the decade, but out­put last year looks set to have fallen as sales in the first 11 months dropped 4.4 per­cent.

Sales in China be­tween July and Septem­ber fell by 44 per­cent, the big­gest slump of any mar­ket for the cen­tral Eng­land-based firm, turn­ing the coun­try from its big­gest sales mar­ket to its small­est.

Its chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer said in Oc­to­ber that the firm’s Chang­shu plant in China “has ba­si­cally been closed for most of Oc­to­ber in or­der to al­low the in­ven­tory of both our ve­hi­cles and dealer in­ven­tory to start to re­duce.” Diesel ac­counted for 90 per­cent of the firm’s Bri­tish sales and 45 per­cent of global de­mand, the com­pany said last year, as de­mand in the seg­ment tum­bled fol­low­ing new levies in the wake of the 2015 Volk­swa­gen emis­sions cheat­ing scan­dal.

PETER FO­LEY EPA-EFE

Jaguar Land Rover, Britain’s lead­ing man­u­fac­turer of premium lux­ury ve­hi­cles, plans to cut some 5 000 jobs – mainly in man­age­ment, mar­ket­ing and ad­min­is­tra­tion – as part of its £2.5 bil­lion sav­ing plan. |

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