‘UNCERTAINCY’ OVER BREXIT LEADS TO BRITISH CUTBACKS
TATA Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover has announced plans to cut production at one of its UK plants in the wake of “uncertainty” around the Brexit vote as well as the future of diesel vehicles.
Britain’s largest car manufacturer, however, indicated that a change to the current three-shift production line is not likely to lead to job losses.
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), which had a “record breaking year” in vehicle sales in 2017, will make “some temporary adjustments” to the production schedule at Halewood in Merseyside, England from the second quarter of this year.
“Ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit is being felt by customers at home (with demand for new cars down 5.7 per cent in 2017) and in Europe where collectively we sell approximately 45 per cent of the total UK production,” a JLR spokesperson said.
“Add to this, concern around the future of petrol and diesel engines, and general global economic and political uncertainty and its clear to see why industry is seeing an impact on car sales.”
Britain is set to increase the amount of vehicle excise duty paid by almost everyone buying a new diesel car from April, which is expected to hit JLR hard as diesel variants account for a large percentage of its UK sales.
The cut in the UK production line will cover Range Rover Evoque and Discovery Sport, the models that are produced at the Halewood plant.
The Tata Group company said a change in production schedules was part of “standard business practice”.
“Following a review of planned volumes, we are planning to make some temporary adjustments to the production schedule at Halewood in second quarter. These changes have been communicated to our workforce,” the spokesperson said.
JLRs global sales grew by seven per cent in 2017 with the sale of 621,109 cars in a year the company branded as its “best ever” and the seventh consecutive year of successive growth.
The Range Rover Evoque has been made at Halewood since 2011 and Discovery Sport since 2014.
The volumes of both models have remained at peak levels since then and the car manufacturer indicated that a change to the current three-shift production line is not likely to lead to job losses at the factory.
“While there will be further challenges facing our industry, there are also exciting times ahead for Jaguar Land Rover. We continue to over-proportionally invest in delivering clean, safe, smart technologies and new vehicles to our customers,” Andy Goss, JLR group sales operations director, had said earlier this month.
The company also unveiled plans for a new software hub at Shannon in Ireland as part of its wider plans to invest in electric and driverless technology.
However, JLR said the automotive industry continues to face a “range of challenges” which are adversely affecting consumer confidence. The knock-on effects of the referendum in favour of Britains exit from the 28-member bloc EU in June 2016 and a hike in diesel taxation have hit the car industry hard in the UK.
Last month, the new owner of Vauxhall, PSA Peugeot Citreon, also announced a cut in production at its Ellesmere Port factory, which produces the Astra model.