London: The Tatas-owned Jaguar Land Rover plans an extended shut down of its UK plants and a new round of staff layoffs as it struggles to cope up with the slump in the world car market, a media report said on Sunday.
“Executives at Jaguar Land Rover, the Midlands carmaker, are drawing up plans for an extended shutdown of its UK plants and a new round of staff layoffs,” UK daily The Sunday Times reported on its online edition today.
Preparation for the closures comes just days after the company released its new flagship, the latest version of the Jaguar XJ beloved by Prime Ministers and top British executives, the report said.
The car was launched at a glitzy party in London’s Saatchi Gallery on Thursday, to critical acclaim.
Jaguar Land Rover, which employs some 15,000 people in the UK, has so far avoided the lengthy shutdowns that some other carmakers have used to save money and run down stock. Honda, for example, closed its plant at Swindon for three months.
Last month Tata Motors stated that mounting losses at the UK carmaker had pushed it into its first annual loss of $522 million (£322 million) in seven years, and warned drastic cost-cutting should be expected. It said sales at its British subsidiary had fallen by a third.
The Midlands group has taken measures, such as extending its Christmas break to two weeks, moving to a four-day week and laying off around 2,000 temporary staff, the report said.
It is understood, however, that one option now under consideration is an extended closure of the three UK plants over the summer, accompanied by another round of job cuts, it added.
Yesterday the company explained that there was no concrete plan. “We have always said there may be a need in the future to take further action, but there are no plans at present,” a spokesman said.
Jaguar Land Rover is still trying to convince the government to provide a loan guarantee that would unlock a £340 million advance from the European Investment Bank. The EIB gave the green light two months ago, but cannot dispense the cash until Britain agrees to repay it if Jaguar Land Rover goes under.