Hun­dreds of Jaguar Land Rover’s job cuts to fall on se­nior man­agers and en­gi­neers

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Business - By Alan Tovey

HUN­DREDS of man­agers at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) are fac­ing the axe as the strug­gling car­maker con­fronts years of em­pire-build­ing un­der its In­dian owner Tata.

In the wake of the 4,500 job cuts an­nounced last week, se­nior staff are this week­end braced for a reck­on­ing at al­most all lev­els of the busi­ness.

“Only the board­room and the grad­u­ates and ap­pren­tices are safe,” said one source. “Ev­ery­body’s job in be­tween is be­ing looked at.”

The cuts come on top of last year’s 1,500 job losses fo­cused on pro­duc­tion lines. The new round will con­cen­trate on white-col­lar roles, mean­ing that the com­pany’s gi­ant head­quar­ters at Whit­ley and R&D base at Gay­don – which each have 10,000 staff – are most likely to be hit. Con­tract po­si­tions, as well as de­sign, en­gi­neer­ing and sup- port roles, are also in the fir­ing line.

JLR is mak­ing heavy losses amid a crash in de­mand for diesel ve­hi­cles, which ac­count for the ma­jor­ity of its sales. A slump in car sales in China has in­creased the pres­sure to re­trench.

Pro­fes­sor David Bai­ley, an au­to­mo­tive ex­pert at As­ton Uni­ver­sity, said: “Staff num­bers al­most tre­bled over that past decade and now sud­denly hav­ing to make bil­lions of cost sav­ings shows some­thing went wrong.”

Ralf Speth, JLR’S chief ex­ec­u­tive, has over­seen the rapid ex­pan­sion two years af­ter the In­dian com­pany bought JLR in 2008. His en­thu­si­asm for diesel and at­tempts to take on Ger­man ti­tans BMW and Mercedes in the lux­ury sa­loon sec­tor is also be­ing blamed by some for JLR’S trou­bles.

“These are hugely com­pet­i­tive sec­tors, and he should have fo­cused on the fast-grow­ing SUV mar­ket,” said Mr Bai­ley. “With the size of the cost cuts I think it’s only Speth’s strong re­la­tion­ship with Ratan Tata [the chair­man of Tata Group] and the sup­port of the unions that means he’s still there.”

West Mid­lands MEP Dan Dal­ton said: “Clearly there have been er­rors in strat­egy. JLR chased ex­pan­sion – which we sup­ported – but there was risk in that and it has not paid off.”

Tur­moil at JLR came as Nis­san re­ported a drop in the num­ber of ve­hi­cles built at its Sun­der­land plant. The lat­est ac­counts filed at Com­pa­nies House show that in the year to the end of March, there was a 32,000 drop to 487,000 in cars built at the gi­ant plant, with the end of pro­duc­tion of the Note hatch­back ac­count­ing for much of the drop. An­nual turnover slipped 1.5pc to £6.3bn, while pre-tax prof­its were 6.6pc lower at £133m. Staff num­bers rose by 178 to 7,933 for the year.

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