Press Report : Business leaders welcome JLR’s pledges

Alun Thorne, Birmingham Post, 25th September, 2009

The region’s business community last night broadly welcomed Jaguar Land Rover’s pledge to safeguard Midlands jobs when it closes a local plant in the next five years.

Jerry Blackett, Chief Executive of Birmingham and Solihull Chamber of Commerce (BCI), said he was heartened by the statement that there would be no compulsory redundancies. He said: “JLR’s new business plan is very welcome and it’s reassuring to know that the company is dedicated to preserving jobs, even with the closure of either the Castle Bromwich plant or Lode Lane in Solihull.

It is right that production of the LRX Concept, the smallest and most fuel-efficient Range Rover, will go to Halewood in Liverpool, which possesses the technological expertise for this model. In transferring production to one of its two plants in the West Midlands, there will be improvements in cost and efficiency.” Jerry Blackett, Chief Executive, Birmingham and Solihull Chamber of Commerce

“This is all part of a plan that recognises changing economic times, new global competitive benchmarks and the need to respond to environmental demands through design and technology advances. Production of the new generation of lightweight Jaguars and Land Rovers and investment in environmental technology will keep the company at the forefront of global markets.

“It is right that production of the LRX Concept, the smallest and most fuel-efficient Range Rover, will go to Halewood in Liverpool, which possesses the technological expertise for this model. In transferring production to one of its two plants in the West Midlands, there will be improvements in cost and efficiency.”

James Watkins, Executive Director of Business Voice WM, said all JLR’s needs could still be met in the Midlands. He said: “We must do all we can to ensure that quality car production continues in the West Midlands. We have a skilled workforce committed to JLR and a superb supply chain providing excellent services at competitive rates. We will be writing urgently to ministers to ask for their intervention towards safeguarding the future of Jaguar Land Rover operations in the UK.”

This decision illustrates that JLR remains committed to the West Midlands and is continuing to make significant investments in the low-carbon and green technologies that will help the company compete globally.” Mick Laverty, Chief Executive, Advantage West Midlands

Mick Laverty, Chief Executive of Advantage West Midlands, said: “This decision illustrates that JLR remains committed to the West Midlands and is continuing to make significant investments in the low-carbon and green technologies that will help the company compete globally.

“As over 60 per cent of all automotive R&D is carried out in the West Midlands, the region is uniquely placed to lead the automotive technological revolution that will ensure that JLR, and the regions component suppliers, have a sustainable future.” 

Automotive Industry expert and analyst Howard Wheeldon, Senior Strategist at BGC Partners, said: “On the positive side this is about much-needed integration of JLR and future investment.” Although one Midland plant would close, he did not believe any compulsory job losses would occur.

[Source: Birmingham Post]

Clive Goldthorp

About the Author:

Clive claims that his interest in the BMC>MG story dates back to his childhood in the 1960s when the family’s garage premises were leased to a tenant with an Austin agency. However, back in the 1920s and 1930s, his grandmother was one of the country’s first female Garage Proprietors so cars probably run in his genes! Admits to affairs with Alfa Romeos, but has more recently owned an 06/06 MG TF 135 and then a 15/64 MG3 Style… Clive, who was AROnline’s News Editor for nearly four years, stood down from that role in order to devote more time to various Motor Racing projects but still contributes articles on as regular basis as his other commitments permit.

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