Tatas, Britain’s largest car manufacturer, will be transferring the production of its Land Rover Discovery model from the West Midlands to Slovakia, potentially putting hundreds of jobs at risk. According to sources, the profits from the sale of cars have been dented following decline in the sale of diesel cars, slumping to £364 million pre-tax in the three months to the end of March, compared to £676 million in the same period last year.
The Labour MP Madeleine Moon said: “This is truly shocking news. The automotive industry has been warning of the dangers facing their sector and now it appears the reality of Brexit is setting in.
“Jobs have already gone in a number of car factories. When will this government finally admit to the damage they’re causing and start to listen to groups like the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders who don’t want British cars stagnating in the slow lane?”
JLR said there would be a “significant investment and technology upgrade” in its Solihull factory, with the carmaker believed to be spending hundreds of millions of pounds to meet its low-carbon commitments. The manufacturer said it would also be investing in its plant at Halewood, Merseyside, to build the next generation Range Rover Evoque. The move has also been welcomed as a step for the manufacturer to upgrade the Solihull plant to build new, electric models.
In the short-term, more work than anticipated will move to JLR’s new £1billion facility in Nitra, Slovakia, which is due to open at the end of the year and is expected to build the revamped Land Rover Defender. JLR, owned by the Indian company Tata, had already signalled it would move a large amount of the production on the Discovery, which sold about 45,000 units last year, the lowest volume of the five models built in Solihull. In a statement, JLR said: “This significant investment and technology upgrade in Solihull in order to accommodate our next generation of flagship Land Rover models, and the refit of our Halewood plant for the next Evoque, is proof that we remain committed both to the UK and to transformation and growth.”
Adding that job losses would come from agency staff employed at Solihull, the company said: “The decision to move the Land Rover Discovery to Slovakia and the potential losses of some agency employed staff in the UK is a tough one but forms part of our long-term manufacturing strategy as we transform our business globally.”