Liverpool Daily Post, 15th July, 2009
Halewood will cease production of the X-Type Jag at the end of this year with the loss of 300 jobs. Luxury car maker Jaguar Land Rover also revealed plans to shut down production of the X-Type and Freelander models for at least three weeks between September and the end of the year due to tumbling car sales.
Workers were given the bombshell news today. The X-Type, or ‘baby Jag”, was seen as the plant’s saviour when it faced closure in 1997 after then owner Ford announced the end of production of the high volume Ford Escort.
Jaguar Chief Executive David Smith said today’s shock measures were necessary to protect the company’s interests. Mr Smith said: ‘Our industry has been especially badly hit by the recession and the premium sector more than others. Jaguar Land Rover retail sales fell by 28% in the past 10 months. We have taken unprecedented action to cut costs, including reduced production volumes, significant cuts to investment plans and some 2,200 job losses . Ceasing production of the X-Type early, with further redundancies and downtime, is necessary to protect our other investment plans.”
Our industry has been especially badly hit by the recession and the premium sector more than others. Jaguar Land Rover retail sales fell by 28% in the past 10 months… Ceasing production of the X-Type early, with further redundancies and downtime, is necessary to protect our other investment plans.” David Smith, Chief Executive, Jaguar Land Rover
Earlier this week fears were raised Halewood could face total closure by Indian owner Tata in the face of falling car sales due to the recession and funding problems. The speculation was dismissed by Halewood’s constituency Labour MP Eddie O’Hara who said the site was being used as a ‘bargaining chip” in a face-off between Tata and the Government which has so far refused to underwrite a 340 million Euro loan to the company pledged by the European Investment Bank.
However, Mr Smith warned today more bad news could not be ruled out for Halewood. In a clear reference to the Government’s delay in rubber stamping the European loan he said: ‘Further action will be determined by the state of the market and the speed with which the already approved 340 million euro European Investment Bank loan can be drawn.”
The X-Type was aimed at middle market consumers in a bid to grasp sales from rivals BMW and Audi but the model has not proved to be the success the company hoped. Halewood has seen several production line shutdowns over the past year to match capacity with demand.
The plant’s 2,000-strong workforce must now pin its hopes on the 4X4 Freelander model and the proposed LRX ‘green” vehicle which has won a £27m Government development grant.
[Source: Liverpool Daily Post]
[Any AROnline readers wishing to read more about the above story can find the relevant BBC News item here.]
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