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Land Rover LRX heads for production

Thu, 24 Sep 2009 00:00:00 -0700

Land Rover will build a production version of the LRX concept small SUV, the company said on Thursday. The new Land Rover will go on sale in 2011.

Also Thursday, owner Tata Motors Ltd. said that it will close one of the three Jaguar Land Rover assembly plants in England by 2014 to cut costs. The plants at risk are in Castle Bromwich, which makes Jaguars, and in Solihull, which makes Land Rover models. Both are in central England. Tata said it will choose which plant to close within the next 18 months.

The third British plant, in Halewood, will remain open and will build the production version of the LRX. Workers at the closed plant will be offered jobs at Halewood, Tata said.

The global economic crisis has taken a toll on Jaguar and Land Rover. Tata said combined sales of the two brands dropped 52 percent in its first fiscal quarter. Jaguar Land Rover also posted a loss of $100 million in the fiscal quarter.

The company said the economic collapse and the resulting drop in new-car sales meant that the Jaguar and Land Rover factories were running at less than 60 percent of capacity. Over the past 12 months, the unit has cut production by more than 100,000 units, cut 2,500 jobs and frozen pay.

Paul McVeigh and Douglas A. Bolduc of Automotive News Europe contributed to this report.

By Dale Jewett