Jaguar says it will cut 4 500 jobs worldwide amid Brexit slump

If you've been driving on the left-hand side of the road for most of your life, driving on the right can be a daunting experience. (Photo: iStock)
If you've been driving on the left-hand side of the road for most of your life, driving on the right can be a daunting experience. (Photo: iStock)

Jaguar Land Rover plans to eliminate 4 500 jobs worldwide, as the UK’s biggest automobile maker responds to the sales slowdown caused by Brexit, flagging demand for diesel-powered vehicles and a downturn in China.

The layoffs, representing roughly 10% of the company’s workforce, come on top of the 1 500 people who left in 2018, the company said Thursday in a statement. Today’s move is part of a 2.5 billion-pound ($3.2 billion) push announced last year to reduce costs and boost cash flow through 2020.

“We are taking decisive action to help deliver long-term growth, in the face of multiple geopolitical and regulatory disruptions as well as technology challenges facing the automotive industry,” Chief Executive Officer Ralf Speth said in the statement. The measures are aimed at “safeguarding our future and ensuring that we maximise the opportunities created by growing demand for autonomous, connected, electric and shared technologies.”

The cuts at Jaguar come on the same day that Ford said it would cut thousands of jobs in Europe as it tries to turn around a region that’s been a drag on earnings for years. Automakers are contending with a slowing global marketplace. Brexit has been a particular drag on the UK.

Jaguar, owned by India’s Tata Motors, employed more than 43 000 people during the 2018 financial year.

In June, the company said it would move production of the Discovery sport utility vehicle to Slovakia from Birmingham, England, to make room for future electric cars. The company has said that move will cost 1 200 jobs.

The company also froze production at an engine factory in the English Midlands, affecting 500 workers, for two weeks in December, citing slower demand. UK new-car sales tumbled at their steepest annual rate since the financial crisis last year. Jaguar sales increased by 4.2% in 2018, while Land Rover registrations dropped by 5.7%, according to the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders industry group.

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