Jaguar Land Rover to shut Solihull factory for two weeks amid trade tensions and weak China demand


Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is set to shut down its Solihull plant for two weeks, blaming economic uncertainty and dampened demand for its cars in China.

Staff will be sent home on full pay for a fortnight from 22 October as the British car manufacturer stops producing any vehicles, as it tries to match supply to dwindling demand.

Read more: Jaguar boss warns of job losses in event of bad Brexit deal

"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 spokesperson 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."

JLR sold 57,114 cars in September, a 12.3 per cent year on year drop, with the firm shipping almost 20 per cent fewer Land Rovers than September 2017.

Chinese sales nearly halved, falling 46.2 per cent, with JLR blaming import duty changes and trade tensions for hurting consumer appetite.

“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.

“Despite this, we expect lower tariffs on UK imports to be beneficial over the full year.”

While sales of new models like the Jaguar I-Pace, the Jaguar E-Pace compact SUV, and the Range Rover Velar offset a decline in older models, JLR sales also took a 6.9 per cent hit in the US.

Read more: Jaguar Land Rover moves factory to three-day week due to Brexit 'headwinds'

They also fell almost five per cent in Europe thanks to reduced demand for diesel cars, though UK demand slipped less than one per cent.

JLR, whose boss has made repeated warnings about the impact of a no-deal Brexit on the car industry, recently moved its Castle Bromwich factory to a three-day week until Christmas to battle what it termed “continuing headwinds”.

Published by
Joe Curtis