British car makers including Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) have gone ahead with plans to shut their UK plants this week over Brexit, in a move which leaves at least half the country’s car production gridlocked.
JLR’s Wolverhampton engine plant as well as its three assembly plants in Solihull, Halewood and Castle Bromwich were due to shut from 15-23 April for annual maintenance. But in January the company extended the closures to this week due to potential disruption to its complex supply chains caused by Brexit.
The move came before JLR knew the UK would postpone its departure date from the European Union from 29 March until 12 April.
JLR has previously warned a no-deal scenario would “threaten our competitiveness as a business, our ability to continue to invest in the UK and our ability to continue to trade freely with the EU”. It has already announced 4,500 job cuts this year.
BMW has also shut its Mini and Rolls-Royce plants, while Peugeot has shut its Vauxhall factory, having brought forward planned summer shutdowns to April.
Between them, JLR, Mini, Rolls-Royce and Vauxhall built more than 750,000 of the UK’s 1.52m cars last year.
Honda has also scheduled six days this month on which production will cease, but refused to say when they were.
More than 29,000 people will not work this week across the four brands as they temporarily shut manufacturing operations.
JLR is the biggest employer, with 18,500 manufacturing jobs in the UK.
British car manufacturing suffered its ninth consecutive month of decline in February, as the industry continued to suffer from Brexit uncertainty and plummeting demand in China.
Car makers produced 123,203 vehicles in February, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, a drop of 15.3 per cent on the same period last year.