Jaguar Land Rover has announced 4,500 job losses as part of its Charge & Accelerate restructuring plan in the wake of falling sales and the announcement of big financial losses. The cuts equate to 10% of the company’s workforce.
The company aims to save £2.5bn over the next 18 months with savings coming from £1bn in investment reductions, £1bn in cost reductions and £500m in inventory and working capital improvements. The job losses will be voluntary redundancies across the whole business.
These latest job losses in addition to cutbacks announced last year with 1,000 workers at the Castle Bromwich put on a three-day week, while 1,000 agency workers were laid off in 2017.
Global sales for Jaguar Land Rover were down 6.9% in 2018. Although UK sales were relatively stable – down just 1.5% – China accounted for the biggest hit, down 21.6%.
The company blames a combination of the collapse in the Chinese car market (down 15.4% in October), US trade tariffs, Brexit uncertainty, the drop in diesel sales (which account for around 90% of the company’s sales), confusion over CO2 and the challenges in meeting the latest WLTP fuel and emission test standards.
However, JLR has insisted that there will be no cuts to the current model line-up and no plant closures, while investment in future electrified vehicles is secure.
To soften today’s cuts, the company has confirmed further investment in electrification with electric drive units to be produced at its engine plant in Wolverhampton, while a new battery assembly centre has been confirmed for Hams Hall in the Midlands.
One company insider commented that the company has simply ‘grown too fast’. In 2011 JLR produced 241,000 cars, while in 2018 614,000 vehicles were produced. £15bn in profit has been produced in that time, with peak profit of £2.6bn made in 2015.
While Jaguar Land Rover is shedding jobs, sports car maker McLaren is hiring an additional 820 workers as part of its Track25 plan announced last July, aiming bringing production at its Woking plant to 6,000 cars per year.
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