Ford to shift focus, cut jobs as European losses mount

Staff gather outside the Jaguar Land Rover site in Halewood Knowsley Merseyside

Image Staff gathered outside the firm's Halewood site ahead of the announcement

Ford and Jaguar Land Rover unveiled sweeping job cuts across Europe on Thursday as auto makers struggle with a slump in demand for diesel vehicles, tougher emissions rules and a global economic slowdown led by China.

Meanwhile Rolls-Royce Motor Cars chief executive Torsten Muller-Otvos has pledged that the carmaker will remain in Britain post-Brexit.

This latest round of cuts comes on top of the 1500 jobs Jaguar Land Rover cut a year ago.

Armstrong said any Ford layoffs and plant closures would be subject to negotiations with labour representatives, and such plans did not account for the possibility of a "hard" exit by Britain from the European Union.

The cuts, representing roughly 10 per cent the company's workforce, are part of a $3.2 billion (2.5 billion-pound) push announced a year ago to reduce costs and boost cash flow through 2020.

The threat of Brexit has also intensified as the United Kingdom is set to leave the European Union on 29 March.

The electric units will be powered by batteries assembled at a new battery assembly centre at Hams Hall in Birmingham.

"Decisive action will help deliver resilient long-term growth as Jaguar Land Rover implements cost and profit improvements", said CEO Ralf Speth in a written statement.

In October a year ago, the vehicle giant unveiled a £2.5 billion turnaround plan that included cost cutting after Brexit uncertainty and slowing demand in China left it nursing a hefty second-quarter loss.

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Apple and Jaguar Land Rover are not alone in their fight to adapt and survive in the current Chinese economy.

The job cuts are a part of the GBP 2.5 billion cost reduction and cashflow improvement efforts that the company is now undertaking, for over 18 months period.

Most commentators have concluded that the chance of a no-deal Brexit have increased with the governor of the Bank of England recently describing the probability as "uncomfortably high".

If, as expected, the United Kingdom bears the brunt, or the entirety, of JLR's global cost-cutting, JLR may well say it tried to warn us.

Tata Motors stock has lost more than 60 percent of value in the last one year after outlook for the JLR brand in China, one of its key markets, roiled. Workforce reductions are part of a $3.2 billion cost-cutting plan to boost savings and cash flow through 2020 as the brands continue to invest in electric cars and self-driving technology.

But sales there have fallen almost 50% in recent months as cautious Chinese consumers have been holding back on big ticket purchases.

Production-line staff will not be affected "at this stage", said the source.

It has hired 4,000 workers in China since 2014.

JLR, owned by the Indian conglomerate Tata, announced 1,000 job losses at its Solihull factory in April 2018, after United Kingdom sales of the Range Rover and Discovery models fell, while 2,000 staff at its Castle Bromwich plant moved to a three-day week previous year.

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