Jaguar Land Rover News

September 24, 2009 by  

Jaguar Land Rover News, LONDON (Reuters) – India’s Tata Motors said on Thursday it will merge two of its three Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) auto plants in England by 2014.

A spokesman for Tata said there would be no compulsory redundancies and it would develop a new low-carbon Range Rover model, creating new jobs. A union said it would oppose the plan.

“They are going to consolidate two West Midlands factories into one over the next five years but they are also planning to increase employment at another plant,” the Tata spokesman said.

Combining the plants at Solihull and Castle Bromwich in the West Midlands is part of a business plan to tackle the impact of the economic downturn, JLR said in a statement.

The company said a review was under way as to which of the two plants would be closed, with the decision due to be announced in the first half of 2010.

Bert Hill, regional officer for the GMB union, said it would meet with the company to hear the details of the plan.

“The GMB will be opposing everything we have heard so far,” he said. “We will fight the company on this – of that I have no doubt.”

More than 14,000 workers are employed at JLR’s five British sites, which include three manufacturing plants. Tata bought Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford in June last year for about $2.3 billion.


JLR will build a new small, fuel-efficient Range Rover — which the company received a 27 million pound grant from the government in March to produce — at Halewood in Liverpool, northwest England.

“It’s a demonstration of our commitment to investing for the future, to continue to deliver relevant vehicles for our customers,” Phil Popham, managing director of Land Rover, said in a statement.

The decision to merge two plants comes after falling demand has seen JLR’s manufacturing running at less than 60 percent of capacity, it said.

New car sales, including those of Jaguar and Land Rover, are down globally between 25 and 30 percent, it added, and the company has cut 2,500 jobs over the past year.

Business Secretary Peter Mandelson said the news showed JLR was “focused it is on the future of the industry and the opportunities available as we move to a low-carbon future … I welcome the commitment that Tata is showing.”

Last month, Tata said it no longer needed UK guarantees on loans for JLR as it had secured private funding and was close to finding a commercial backer for a European Investment Bank loan.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, writing by Avril Ormsby; Editing by John Stonestreet)

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