JLR will start with a voluntary redundancy programme in its UK operations which employs around 40,000 people, with more than 4,000 at Halewood in Merseyside. Tony McDonough reports
Carmaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is to reduce its global workforce by 4,500 and will start with a voluntary redundancy programme in its UK operations.
JLR employs around 40,000 people in the UK, including more than 4,000 people at Halewood in Merseyside assembling the Evoque and Discovery Sport models and also operates two large car assembly plants in the West Midlands.
A tough 2018 for sales, both in the UK and its global markets, led to half-year losses of £354m between March and September, compared to profits of £953m for the same period in 2017.
This has forced the company to cut 1,000 agency workers from its West Midlands operation with 2,000 workers at its Castle Bromwich plant put on a three-day week.
JLR says the 4,500 job cuts would be in addition to 1,500 people who left the business in 2018 and was part of its ongoing ‘Charge and Accelerate’ transformation programme.
Dr Ralf Speth, chief executive of JLR which is owned by India-based Tata Motors, said: “Decisive action will help deliver resilient long-term growth as Jaguar Land Rover implements cost and profit improvements. This will safeguard our future.”
Despite looking to cut costs JLR is continuing to invest in new models. Late last year the company launched the next generation Evoque, a £1bn investment including £110 to upgrade the Halewood plant.
There will be further investment into electrification with electric drive units to be produced at Wolverhampton Engine Manufacturing Centre and new battery assembly centre to be established at Hams Hall in Birmingham.
Dr Speth added: “We are taking decisive action to help deliver long-term growth, in the face of multiple geopolitical and regulatory disruptions as well as technology challenges facing the automotive industry.
“The ‘Charge and Accelerate’ programme combines efficiency measures with targeted investment, safeguarding our future and ensuring that we maximise the opportunities created by growing demand for autonomous, connected, electric and shared technologies.”
So far the programme has identified over £1bn of improvements, with more than £500m already realised in 2018. The battery assembly centre will be one of the largest of its kind in the UK, using new production techniques and technologies to manufacture battery packs for future JLR vehicles.
In 2018, the company continued its global expansion with the opening of its latest vehicle manufacturing plant in Slovakia as well as investment into specialist engineering hubs in the Republic of Ireland, Hungary and Manchester.