Weak sales lead to cut in car production at JLR plant, claims report

Car maker Jaguar Land Rover is to cut production at its Halewood plant on Merseyside by 7,000 cars a year due to weak sales.

The Sunday Times claimed the business has told its suppliers about the decision after a review amid falling global sales for the Tata-owned manufacturer, and growing uncertainty over Brexit.

In July the business reported a pre-tax loss of £395m for April to the end of June, compared with a £264m loss in the same period a year ago, which it blamed on Brexit contingency plans as a key factor.

It said global vehicle sales dropped 11.6% during the period, to 128,615, dragging down revenues for the three months to £5.07bn, a decline of 2.5%.

In May the company, which has plants in Halewood, Merseyside, Coventry, Solihull, Birmingham and Wolverhampton, reported a £3.6bn annual loss as it continued to face slowing sales in China and launched a costly turnaround plan involving the loss of 4,500 jobs from its total workforce of around 40,000.

In April this year the car maker shut its plants in Halewood, Castle Bromwich and Wolverhampton for a week due to Brexit uncertainty.

The company employs more than 4,000 staff at its Halewood plant, where it builds the Range Rover Evoque and Discovery Sport models.

JLR said in a statement: “As part of its standard business practice, Jaguar Land Rover regularly reviews and adjusts its production schedules to ensure market demand is balanced globally.”

The Sunday Times also claimed that JLR chief executive Ralf Speth is believed to be meeting cabinet member Michael Gove this week to discuss Brexit.

He has warned that disruption to production could be unavoidable if the UK pursued a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.