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