Jaguar Land Rover introduces shutdown in response to poor sales

Production of the Jaguar XE

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is to halt production at its Solihull plant for two weeks later this month in response to poor sales.

The shutdown will see staff get paid but the site will close from October 22.

Sales performance has been underwhelming for a number of months with China in particular seeing large like-for-like falls in volumes.

Jaguar Land Rover’s total retail sales of 57,114 vehicles in September 2018, down 12% year on year. Sales in China declined by 46%, which it blamed on ongoing market uncertainty resulting from import duty changes and continued trade tensions held back consumer demand.

The carmaker is also battling consumers’ move away from diesel cars and the expected impact of the UK leaving the European Union next March.

Already this year it has cut 1,000 agency jobs across its West Midlands plants and introduced a three-day week for its 2,000 staff at Castle Bromwich.

A Jaguar Land Rover statement said: “As part of the company’s continued strategy for profitable growth, Jaguar Land Rover is focused on achieving operational efficiencies and will align supply to reflect fluctuating demand globally as required.

“The decision to introduce a two week shutdown period later this month at Solihull is one example of actions we are taking to achieve this.”

Unite the Union blamed the Government for its not providing adequate support to carmakers.

Unite national officer Des Quinn said: “Government ministers’ trashing of diesel, despite the UK making some of the cleanest engines in the world, combined with their shambolic handling of Brexit is damaging the UK car industry and the supply chain.

“Add into the mix the government’s half-hearted support for the transition to electric and alternatively powered cars and you have a triple whammy facing the UK’s car workers.”

The union has urged Chancellor Philip Hammond to rule out cuts to support for electric vehicles and to signal the massive investment needed in infrastructure as part of a transition to electric and alternatively powered vehicles.

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