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British luxury carmaker Jaguar Land Rover will cut 300 jobs from its Halewood, north England, plant and stop production of its X-Type car there by the end of the year due to the downturn in the car industry.

“Our industry has been especially badly hit by the recession and the premium sector more than others. Jaguar Land Rover’s retail sales fell by 28 per cent in the past 10 months,” CEO David Smith said in a statement.

Reuters newsagency says that in the first half, JLR’s European sales fell 38.7 per cent to 40,999 units, according to data released Wednesday by the European auto manufacturers association, ACEA.

During the first six months JLR rivals BMW, Daimler and Lexus also suffered double-digit declines in European sales.

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The company, owned by India’s Tata Motors, said it would not close the Halewood plant, which employs 2000 people and also makes the Land Rover Freelander, but would shut it down temporarily for about three weeks.

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A spokesman said the group was still in talks with the government over a loan guarantee for a 340 million euro (US$477.6 million) handout from the European Investment Bank, approved earlier this year.

“We are hopeful for a speedy and successful conclusion,” the spokesman said.

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Tata Motors said last month that Jaguar Land Rover made an after-tax loss of 306 million pounds (US$501.5 million) in the 10 months to the end of March and at that time Tata executives warned of further job cuts.

However, the company pressed ahead with the launch of the high end Jaguar XJ model last week.






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