Business

Brexit: Jaguar Land Rover extends shutdown over no-deal fears

Land Rover Image copyright Getty Images

Jaguar Land Rover is to extend its annual April shutdown in car production because of uncertainties around Brexit.

The UK's biggest carmaker will be idle for an extra week because of fears of disruption at its car and engine plants at Liverpool, Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

The shutdown during 8 to 12 April will be in addition to a scheduled closure the following week.

Britain is due to leave the European Union on 29 March.

"There will be an additional week of production stand-down... due to potential Brexit disruption," JLR said in a statement.

The company, which is cutting jobs because of a steep fall in sales, has previously warned about the impact of Brexit on its ability to source just-in-time components from mainland Europe.

BMW is already planning to close its plant near Oxford for a month after Brexit, while Honda is planning a six-day closure.

After Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan was defeated in Parliament last week, fears have grown among some businesses of a no-deal exit.

Also on Thursday, Airbus, which makes aircraft wings in the UK, warned it could shift manufacturing from the UK in the event of no deal.

JLR said its move had been under consideration for some time, but it was waiting for clarity over the terms of Britain's EU withdrawal. The company said it needed to inform its workers ahead of any holiday and annual leave plans.

Future investment

JLR has been saying for more than a year that Brexit uncertainty would eventually take its toll on the perception of the UK as a stable and competitive base for global manufacturing.

Last July, the company said it needed more certainty around Brexit, and warned that a "no-deal" Brexit would cost the company more than £1.2bn in profit each year.

Chief executive Ralf Speth said last year: "We have spent around £50bn in the UK in the past five years - with plans for a further £80bn more in the next five. This would be in jeopardy should we be faced with the wrong outcome."

JLR employs just under 39,000 workers at sites including Castle Bromwich, Solihull and Wolverhampton in the West Midlands, and Halewood on Merseyside.

Thursday's news follows an announcement earlier this month that JLR is to cut 4,500 jobs under plans to make £2.5bn of cost savings.

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