Published: Fri, January 11, 2019
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Jaguar Land Rover to slash United Kingdom jobs after China, diesel drop

Jaguar Land Rover to slash United Kingdom jobs after China, diesel drop

Brexit played an indirect role in the decision, Jaguar Land Rover Chief Executive Officer Ralf Speth said on a conference call, citing the United Kingdom automotive market's 6.8 per cent drop in 2018, the worst since the financial crisis.

"The economic slowdown in China along with ongoing trade tensions is continuing to influence consumer confidence", said JLR Chief Commercial Officer Felix Brautigam.

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.

The automaker said it would start off by offering voluntary redundancies to United Kingdom workers. This was particularly bad news for JLR, which still relies on the fuel to power a barely believable 90 per cent of its vehicles.

Unions expressed concerns about the job losses.

"What is crucial now is that the Government acts to mitigate against serious repercussions for tier two and three suppliers in the Black Country and across the West Midlands".

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.

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The cuts, representing roughly 10 per cent the company's workforce, are part of a $3.2 billion (2.5 billion-pound) push announced a year ago to reduce costs and boost cash flow through 2020.

Armstrong said: "We are taking decisive action to transform the Ford business in Europe".

New all-electric vehicles will be offered for all Ford models, while there will be a more "targeted" line-up of models in the future.

A Ford spokesman said the vehicle maker now assumes that any Brexit deal would keep tariff-free trade between Britain and Europe.

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

Unite national officer Des Quinn said: "Ford's workforce in the United Kingdom is world class in making and developing engines and gearboxes that are shipped all over the globe".

"Unite will continue to press the auto maker for assurances over the jobs and skills of our members who have worked tirelessly over the past decade to make the company the global success story it is today".

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"We expect the immediate impact on Ford's United Kingdom operations to be limited".

The JLR job cuts come on the same day that Ford Motor Co. said it would cut thousands of jobs in Europe as it tries to turn around a region that's been a drag on earnings for years.

Most will be in office roles as the company wants to simplify its management structure.

"Government ministers need to wake up and start doing more to support UK's vehicle workers".

"Jaguar Land Rover workers have had to endure a great deal of uncertainty over recent months as they continue to work hard to ensure the carmaker remains a global leader".

"The government needs to realise that the automotive sector from factory floor and right across supply chains desperately needs tangible support, not warm words".

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