JAGUAR Land Rover’s plan to shed 4,500 jobs is a damaging blow for the wider economy, say the region’s business leaders.
The Coventry and Solihull-based luxury carmaker announced the bad news yesterday, which could also affect more jobs in the region’s automotive supply chain.
It is not yet known how the axe will fall on 4.500 jobs globally.
The majority of JLR’s 40,000 UK workforce is based in the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire region.
Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The news of any job losses is always damaging – both for the individuals it affects and also the wider economy.
“But the fact that this is Jaguar Land Rover, which is such a major employer in our region and such a key player in the wider economy, brings that into even sharper focus.
“Until the full details emerge, we won’t know the exact extent of the impact on Coventry and Warwickshire but it’s vital that partners across the region come together to do all we can to work with the company, individuals affected and the supply chain.
“It must be remembered however that Jaguar Land Rover continues to invest extensively in and outside the region, while our wider economy remains strong.”
Jonathan Browning, chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), said: “This is clearly a difficult day for Jaguar Land Rover and its employees.
“Adverse market developments, heightened business uncertainty, relentless global competition and other external factors beyond their control, mean companies have to sometimes make painful decisions to safeguard their long-term futures.
“While details are yet to fully emerge, we hope that the nature of these cuts will have a limited effect on the supply chain across our area, but obviously will be damaging individually and will be felt locally.
“However, our economy is strong and Coventry and Warwickshire has seen the fastest productivity growth of all LEP areas in recent years.
“We have seen growth across many sectors particularly in legal and professional services, energy, engineering consultancy and civil engineering, logistics, tourism and IT services giving us a balanced economy.
“We have a quality labour force, some leading-edge companies as well as two highly-regarded universities, so we remain a very attractive place in which to do business both for local companies and also international investors.”
The job losses are in addition to the 1,500 people who lost there jobs at JLR last year.
Hundreds went at Solihull’s Lode Lane plant and at Castle Bromwich.
Around 1,000 workers were switched to a three-day week.
The volatility has been explained by the switch away from diesel and government taxes on the polluting fuel, falling demand in China, as well as the transition to electric technology which JLR is investing in.
JLR chief executive Ralf Speth has also repeatedly warned of mass job losses resulting from a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.
The company’s announcement further highlighted its plans to invest in future technologies, and the shift to battery and engine vehicles.
It is described as the “next phase of a major transformation plan to lay the foundations for long-term sustainable profitable growth”.
There will be further investment into electrification with Electric Drive Units to be produced at Wolverhampton Engine Manufacturing Centre and new Battery Assembly Centre to be established at Hams Hall, North Warwickshire.
JLR chief executive Dr Ralf Speth added: “We are taking decisive action to help deliver long-term growth, in the face of multiple geopolitical and regulatory disruptions as well as technology challenges facing the automotive industry.”
In the last year, JLR’s range has expanded to include the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE, the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport with PHEV derivatives and, most recently, the new Range Rover Evoque, also with ‘next-generation’ hybrid technology.
Last year, the company ‘continued its global expansion’ with the opening of its latest vehicle manufacturing plant in Slovakia.
Jaguar Land Rover also confirmed plans to invest in its Solihull plant to support the introduction of the next generation Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.