Tens of thousands of automotive jobs at risk in a hard Brexit, warns Jaguar boss

JLR employs around 40,000 people in the UK, and more than 4,000 at Halewood, but the company’s chief executive Ralf Speth warns a ‘no-deal’ Brexit could cost the firm £60m a day. Tony McDonough reports

JLR Halewood
Jaguar Land Rover employs more than 4,000 people at its factory in Halewood

 

One of Mersyside’s biggest employers, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), says a no-deal Brexit could lead to job losses to its UK car industry in the “tens of thousands”.

JLR employs around 40,000 people in the UK, more than 4,000 at the company’s plant in Halewood, but the company’s chief executive Ralf Speth has told a automotive conference in Birmingham that a hard Brexit could cost it £60m a day in lost revenue.

In a chilling message, he said: “Jobs have been shed when they should have been created. A thousand lost as a result of diesel policy. Those numbers will be counted in the tens of thousands if we do not get the right Brexit deal.”

Export success

JLR is Britain’s biggest carmaker and is also one of the country’s biggest exporters. The two models produced at Halewood, the Range Rover Evoque and the Discovery Sport, are top sellers across the world.

But Mr Speth warned departing the EU without a good deal in place would would put the continuation of that success in jeopardy.

Pointing out that it it was cheaper to make cars in Slovakia than it was in Britain, he added: “What decisions will we be forced to make, if Brexit means not merely that costs go up, but that we cannot physically build cars on time and on budget in the UK?

“Six months from Brexit and uncertainty means that many companies are being forced to make decisions about their businesses that will not be reversed, whatever the outcome, just to survive.”

Pre-tax losses

In early August JLR reported pre-tax losses of £264m in the second quarter of this year – it first quarterly loss for three years. It primarily blamed lower wholesale sales to China in the April/MayJune period. In the same period last year the company made a pre-tax profit of £595m.

Revenues for the period were also down 6.7% to £5.2bn. However, the company said it actually sold 145,510 vehicles during the quarter – a year-on-year rise of 5.9%. Retail sales in the UK were up 3.3%.

JLR, which is owned by Indian conglomerate Tata, is continuing to invest in new vehicles, next-generation automotive technologies and facilities to support its future sustainable growth, with total investment spending of £1.1bn for the quarter. 

It announced earlier this year that Halewood would receive a significant investment of £110m so it can produce the new Evoque model.

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