Jaguar Land Rover, the UK’s largest car maker, has announced plans to cut 4,500 jobs, most of which are expected to come from its 40,000 strong UK workforce.
The company said the cuts, which are expected to mainly affect managerial and office staff and which follow 1500 losses in 2018, are being made as part of an ongoing effort to reduce costs by £2.5bn over the next 18 months.
The company – which announced a 4.6 per cent decline in sales in its most recent trading figures faces a series of challenges including a dramatic decline in sales in China (driven by slowing economic growth and trade tensions with the US) a Europe-wide slump in sales of diesel and concerns over the impact of Brexit.
Commenting on the latest announcement, the firm’s CEO Dr Ralf Speth said: “We are taking decisive action to help deliver long-term growth, in the face of multiple geopolitical and regulatory disruptions.”
In a sequence of announcements made since June 2018, JLR has revealed that production of its Discovery model would move from Solihull to Slovakia and that 1,000 workers at its Castle Bromwich plant would drop to a three-day week. The Solihull plant – which has already shed around 1,000 workers – also saw a two-week shutdown in October to compensate for the shrinking demand for JLR vehicles.
Responding to the JLR job cuts Unite, the country’s largest manufacturing union, said it would be scrutinising the business case for the global job losses and pressing the car maker to safeguard its members’ jobs. Unite national officer Des Quinn said: “Unite will be scrutinising the business case for these global job cuts, and Unite expects that any UK redundancies will be on a voluntary basis amongst affected employees.”
In an effort to better position itself for the future, the company has also announced that it will be investing heavily in electrification with next-generation Electric Drive Units (EDU) set to be produced at the company’s Engine Manufacturing Centre in Wolverhampton, and batteries for these units assembled at a new plant at the firms Hams Hall facility in North Warwickshire.
The company claims that the Battery Assembly Centre will be one of the largest of its kind in the UK, and will use new production techniques and technologies to manufacture battery packs for future Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles.