Global chip shortage forces temporary Halewood JLR shutdown

A global shortage of computer chips is forcing Jaguar Land Rover to temporarily suspend production at its Halewood factory in Merseyside. Tony McDonough reports

Jaguar Land Rover
A Ranger Rover Evoque rolls off the production line at JLR in Halewood

 

 

Carmaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is to temporarily suspend production at its factory at Halewood in Merseyside due to a global shortage of computer chips.

From next Monday the plant, which employs around 3,700 people assembling the Range Rover, Evoque and the Land Rover Discovery Sport models, will close down production for a “limited period”. The shutdown will also affect the Castle Bromwich site in the West Midlands.

In a statement, JLR said: “We have adjusted production schedules for certain vehicles which means that our Castle Bromwich and Halewood manufacturing plants will be operating a limited period of non-production from Monday, April 26.

“We are working closely with affected suppliers to resolve the issues and minimise the impact on customer orders wherever possible.”

The worldwide shortage of computer chips is causing production problems across multiple business sectors. Lockdowns and the increased use of technology during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a surge in demand for semiconductor chips.

Other auto makers such as Ford and Renault have also been affected and, earlier this week, Stellantis, which owns the Vauxhall factory in Ellesmere Port, said it would have to replace digital speedometers with old-fashioned analogue ones in one of its Peugeot models.

Modern vehicles are heavily reliant on technology with digital systems controlling engine management, driver aids including satnavs, on-board cameras and as as radio and communications devices. A fire at a Japanese factory making semiconductors for the car industry has worsened the shortage.

The issue is unhelpful for JLR at a time when its recovery from the impact of the pandemic was gathering momentum. Earlier this month the company, owned by India’s Tata Motors, said it had achieved retail sales of 123,483 vehicles in the final three months of its financial year to March 31, 12.4% ahead of the same period last year.

It added its Merseyside-made Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport were its biggest global sellers in the Land Rover Range in the last 12 months.

Chief executive Thierry Bolloré said: “While the COVID-19 pandemic has an ongoing impact on the global auto industry, I am pleased to end the financial year with sales up year-on-year in the last quarter.”

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