Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has said it has no plans to reconsider an earlier decision to close one of its plants in the UK, a cost saving decision that is intended to allow rationalisation of production. An announcement on this, as scheduled originally, will be made during the middle of this year. An unnamed company source, has said JLR was reconsidering the decision to close one of its Midlands plants. The reason given is the improving sales of its premium and luxury cars. It is true that JLR sales have picked up in the last few months but the company will continue to implement its cost-cutting measures, one of which is to rationalise production between its three assembly plants in the UK.
In September 2009, when the economic outlook was poor and JLR was forced to cut costs, the company said it would rationalise production between two of its Midlands plants. The company said there would not be any additional job cuts on account of this move as planned and voluntary redundancies would continue in all its plants. Though the company has not made any specific announcements on which plant it is likely to close, it was generally understood that one of its Midlands plants, either Castle Bromwich or Solihull, will close. The company as a whole employs around 14,000 people and the three assembly plants employ close to 9,000 workers — 5,000 in Solihull, 2,000 in Castle Bromwich and 1,800 at Halewood. Castle Bromwich makes some Jaguar models, Solihull makes the Land Rover Defender and Discovery, the Range Rover Sport and Range Rover, and Halewood makes the Jaguar X-Type and Land Rover Freelander models.
Since the start of 2010, JLR has reported impressive improvement in sales. JLR’s global sales in March 2010 were 23,538 vehicles, up by 43%. Jaguar sales for the month were 4,642, higher by 8%, while Land Rover sales were 18,896, up by 55%. Apart from new cost-cutting measures, the company changed its top management. It has brought in Carl Peter Forster, former head of General Motors Europe and Ralf Speth from BMW to lead the company’s turnaround and saw the exit of the, then, CEO David Smith.