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Twin jobs blow to UK motor industry from Jaguar and Ford

AOL 2019-01-10 18:22:03

The motor industry is being hit by a twin jobs blow after two of the UK’s biggest carmakers announced shake-ups.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is set to confirm plans to cut thousands of jobs – affecting roles including administration, marketing and management.

And Ford signalled “significant” cuts among its 50,000 European workforce under plans to make it more competitive and make its business more sustainable.

JLR employs 44,000 workers in the UK at sites in Halewood on Merseyside and Solihull, Castle Bromwich and Wolverhampton in the West Midlands.

(PA Graphics)

In October last year, the car giant unveiled a £2.5 billion turnaround plan that included cost cutting after Brexit uncertainty and slowing demand in China left it nursing a hefty second-quarter loss.

The firm, owned by Indian conglomerate Tata, booked a £90 million pre-tax loss in the three months to September 30, which compared with a £385 million profit in the same period in 2017.

In China, demand was adversely impacted by consumer uncertainty following import duty changes and escalating trade tensions with the US.

In the UK, “continuing uncertainty related to Brexit” was blamed.

JLR’s figures were also dented by the introduction of European emissions standards known as WLTP, which resulted in a fall in demand for diesel cars.

Staff gather outside the Jaguar Land Rover site in Halewood, Knowsley ahead of the announcement (Peter Byrne/PA)

At the time, boss Ralf Speth said: “In the latest quarterly period, we continued to see more challenging market conditions.

“Our results were undermined by slowing demand in China, along with continued uncertainty in Europe over diesel, Brexit and the WLTP changeover.”

The firm cut 1,000 temporary contract workers at its plant in Solihull in 2017.

Thursday’s announcement is expected to include details of sales for 2018, the business outlook for this year, an update on cost savings and planned investment in UK plants.

Ford started consultations with unions, with details of any job cuts not expected until later in the year, although staff currently based at Warley in the West Midlands will move to Dunton in Essex.

Steven Armstrong, Ford’s European group vice president, said the company was taking “decisive action” to transform its European business.

He said: “We will invest in the vehicles, services, segments and markets that best support a long-term sustainably profitable business, creating value for all our stakeholders and delivering emotive vehicles to our customers.”

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.

Mr Armstrong said Ford was making “tough” decisions by undertaking a “complete review” of its European operations.

He said the announcement was not directly linked to Brexit, but he added that Ford will have to undertake a further review if the UK leaves the EU without a deal in March.

Mr Armstrong declined to say how many jobs will be cut, but he said the impact will be “significant”.

Unite national officer Des Quinn said: “Ford’s workforce in the UK is world class in making and developing engines and gearboxes that are shipped all over the globe.

“Unite is positively engaging with Ford over its plans as we seek to safeguard jobs and look after the interests of all the company’s employees in the UK.

“We expect the immediate impact on Ford’s UK operations to be limited.”

Meanwhile Rolls Royce Motor Cars chief executive Torsten Muller-Otvos has pledged that the carmaker will remain in Britain post-Brexit.