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JLR Factory plans on track – Sunday Times story rejected

Mon, 19 Apr 2010

JLR's UK restructuring is on track despite the stories in this weekend's press

Back in September, JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) announced that it intended closing one of its Midlands factories as part of a long-term plan to breathe new life in to the future of JLR. We dutifully reported that but confess we took the easy ‘Bad News’ tack on the story. It was obvious; JLR are closing a factory ergo bad news. But we were wrong.

We realised the following day that we’d jumped to an easy conclusion and after a long and informative chat with JLR it became clear that the closure was about investing in the future of JLR, not a slash and burn policy to cut every overhead possible.

Not only was the plan about growing JLR it was also about keeping jobs in the Midlands, not shedding them. And we were completely convinced by JLR’s sincerity. We have no doubt they have plans to expand beyond the UK production base – they’d be pretty poor at business if they didn’t – but on the future of JLR in the UK we were certain they were up-front, bullish and realistic.

So we were a little surprised to see a story in the weekend press Рthe Sunday Times Рsaying that JLR were looking at keeping both Midlands plants open in the light of new thinking by the latest management team. According to the Sunday Times this was dependant on talks with the Government to get financial assistance for new models. Which all sounded a bit odd. So we spoke to JLR and got a statement from Tata CEO Carl-Peter Forster. He told Cars UK:

“I can confirm that this speculation is based on rumour and that these rumours are untrue and serve only to create confusion.

In September 2009, Jaguar Land Rover announced a new business strategy that will increase global competitiveness, drive growth and sustained profitability and respond to the challenges of climate change. One of the measures outlined in the plan was the consolidation of Jaguar Land Rover’s manufacturing facilities from three plants to two, with only one of either the Castle Bromwich or Solihull plants being retained and receiving investment for new generations of Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles.

Since my appointment as Group CEO of Tata Motors, I have reviewed Jaguar Land Rover’s business strategy and this consolidation, which will improve both efficiency and cost and align manufacturing capability with product plans and future volume growth, remains in Jaguar Land Rover’s plans. There has been no change in strategy.

Jaguar Land Rover has been undertaking a study that examines which West Midlands plant will be retained. The result of this study will be announced by mid-year and the transition from two plants to one will take place through the middle of this decade.”

So, as you were then. A non-story. Fly a kite and see who bites.

By Cars UK