The steering wheel of a Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Plc I-Pace electric vehicle is seen during the 2018 New York International Auto Show. (Photographer: Michael Noble Jr./Bloomberg)  

Tata Motors’ JLR Plans Two-Week Shutdown Of U.K. Plant

Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover today revealed plans for a two-week shutdown of its West Midlands plant at the end of October to cope with weakening global demand for its luxury vehicles.

JLR, however, stressed that it wouldn't mean any job losses at the plant in Solihull, as workers will continue to be paid during the shutdown period.

"As part of the company's continued strategy for profitable growth, Jaguar Land Rover is focused on achieving operational efficiencies and will align supply to reflect fluctuating demand globally as required," a JLR statement said.

The decision to introduce a two-week shutdown period later this month at Solihull is one example of actions we are taking to achieve this. Customer orders in the system will not be impacted and employees affected will be paid for the duration of the shutdown.
Jaguar Land Rover.

The Solihull plant, where the company produces its Range Rover and Jaguar models, will close from Oct. 22. It follows a move to a three-day week for around 2,000 workers at the firm's Castle Bromwich plant and an announcement in April to lay off 1,000 workers across its West Midlands' units.

Describing news of the two-week shutdown as "deeply troubling", Unite Union, the UK's biggest union for car workers, blamed the government's incompetence over its policies around diesel vehicles and Brexit negotiations for the continued stress on the country's car industry.

"Over the past decade, Jaguar Land Rover workers have worked tirelessly to turn the carmaker's fortunes around,” said Unite Union national officer Des Quinn. “Ministers now risk turning them and their colleagues in the supply chain from hero to zero."

Also read: Tata Motors’ JLR Cuts Production Schedule In U.K.

"The government must secure their future by getting a Brexit deal that secures frictionless tariff free trade with Europe. At the same time ministers must repair the damage done over diesel by supporting a just transition' to electric and alternative power vehicles as part of an industrial strategy," he said.

The news of the shutdown came as JLR released its September sales figures, which marked a 12.3 percent year-on-year drop. Sales in China declined by 46.2 percent, which the U.K.'s biggest car-maker blamed on ongoing market uncertainty resulting from import duty changes and continued trade tensions.

"As a business we are continuing to experience challenging conditions in some of our key markets. Customer demand in China in particular has struggled to recover following changes in import tariffs in July and intensifying competition on price, while ongoing global negotiations on potential trade agreements have dampened purchase considerations," said Felix Brautigam, JLR’s Chief Commercial Officer.

The company said it expected lower tariffs on U.K. imports to be beneficial over the course of the year, with Brautigam highlighting positive customer response to new Jaguar products.

Also read: U.K. Plays Down Talk of Brexit Breakthrough

"The all-electric I-PACE and the sporty E-PACE compact SUV in particular, which have only recently joined our line-up in China, are driving demand globally," he said.