Jaguar to Slash 4,500 Jobs in Brexit Slump, Joining Ford in Cuts

Staff gather outside the Jaguar Land Rover site in Halewood Knowsley Merseyside. The luxury carmaker which employs 44,000 workers in the UK at sites in Halewood on Merseyside and Solihull Castle Bromwich and Wolverhampton in the West Midlands is givi

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will today announce it is cutting up to 5,000 jobs from its 40,000 strong United Kingdom workforce.

JLR chief executive Ralf Speth said a tidal wave of "unprecedented" challenges to the upmarket auto maker meant it was slashing about a tenth of its workforce - the bulk of which are in the United Kingdom - to "protect the future" of the business.

In December 2018, the company refused to comment on reports that it was preparing to cut thousands of jobs in the New Year.

Meanwhile, Ford Europe announced today it will be cutting thousands of jobs from its workforce, which now totals 53,000; 24,000 of those workers are based in Germany.

The company has been making losses following a massive drop in demand in China, its biggest market, and concerns on diesel vehicles. Total vehicle sales in China (JLR's biggest market) declined for the first time in two decades a year ago, as the nation's consumers reacted to the economic uncertainty surrounding the introduction of U.S. trade tariffs.

Ford started consultations with unions, with details of any job cuts not expected until later in the year, although staff now based at Warley in the West Midlands will move to Dunton in Essex.

"We believe Ford Europe could require as much as a 20 to 30 per cent reduction of capacity and head count", Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said in a note on Thursday. It lost 354 million pounds between April and September 2018.

Jaguar Land Rover is facing a range of high-profile business challenges, including lower demand in China and a slump in sales of diesel cars in Europe. That could get worse in a hard Brexit, while carmakers across the globe grapple with a downturn in China and pressure to invest in electrified and autonomous cars.

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"In smaller vehicles the diesel decline is accelerating".

Ford Motor Co. said Thursday it is cutting jobs in Europe as it reshapes its business to focus on more profitable commercial trucks and SUVs while shifting production to electric cars over the longer term.

The threat of Brexit has also intensified as the United Kingdom is set to leave the European Union on 29 March. "If Brexit went in the wrong direction we would have to have another look, to mitigate that", Armstrong said.

He said the announcement was not directly linked to Brexit, but he added that Ford will have to undertake a further review if the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a deal in March.

In the darkest day for the British automotive industry since the collapse of Rover Group 14 years ago with the loss of 6,000 jobs at Longbridge in Birmingham, Jaguar Land Rover said it has to take "decisive action" to secure its long-term future.

"I don't want to make at the moment any statement about Brexit and/or the closure of the plant or further implications out of it not knowing the results from politics".

Fellow vehicle makers Mini, Rolls-Royce and Honda have said they would temporarily close plants in April after Brexit to avoid any disruption.

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