Jaguar Land Rover to ‘pause’ production at its Halewood plant

Halewood plant

Production at Jaguar Land Rover’s Halewood plant in Knowsley is being halted for nine days this month.

But the luxury car maker said the shutdown is not linked to the coronavirus outbreak.

It said it needs a “planned non-production period” to adjust production schedules at the plant.

Production will cease from March 19, to 27, and the carmaker said it will also adjust production schedules at its Castle Bromwich and Solihull sites in the West Midlands.

Halewood employs around 4,000 JLR staff who produce the Evoque and Discovery Sport models.

Last month JLR chief, Sir Ralf Speth, revealed the car maker was having to fly in some parts from China in suitcases due to supply problems, caused by factory shutdowns caused by the coronavius epidemic there.

Sales in the country had also collapsed as most big cities were on lockdown, trying to contain the spread of the virus.

But the group said the “pause” in production was due to the launch of vehicles such as the Range Rover Evoque plug-in hybrid as well as “to ensure market demand is balanced globally”.

A spokeswoman said staff had been told of the shutdown in January.

A group statement said: “As part of its standard business practice, Jaguar Land Rover regularly reviews its production schedules to support its launch planning process and to ensure market demand is balanced globally.”

It is understood that “ongoing activity” will take place during the period, with “some production and employee training” taking place.

In January JLR announced up to 500 redundancies at its Merseyside site linked to major changes to shift patterns, from a three shift system to a ‘two-plus’ shift pattern from April 2020.

The company said at the time: “This will deliver significant operating efficiencies at the plant, while enabling us to meet the growing customer demand for our new Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport.

“This change in shift pattern affects around 10% of Halewood’s workforce. Jaguar Land Rover Halewood employees have the opportunity to leave through an enhanced voluntary redundancy programme.”