Jaguar Land Rover will halt production at British factories for a week in November, joining BMW and Toyota in staging a shutdown to mitigate potential disruption from a no-deal Brexit.
Speaking a day after Michael Gove said the automotive industry was ready for no deal, the JLR chief executive, Ralf Speth, said the company had no choice but to stop production lines at four facilities.
“We cannot think about it, we just have to do it,” he said during an event at JLR’s engineering and development site in Gaydon, Warwickshire, to mark the opening of an advanced product creation centre.
“I need 20 million parts a day and that means I have to make commitments to my suppliers. I have to have every and each part available and I have to have it just in time,” he said.
JLR is among several carmakers that have repeatedly voiced grave concerns about the impact a no-deal Brexit would have on their industry. In particular, they have warned of disruption to the “just-in-time” flow of car parts underpinning an industry that employs more than 800,000 people in the UK. JLR employs more than 40,000 people in Britain.
Boris Johnson dismissed Speth’s concerns in a radio interview on LBC earlier this year, insisting that it was not certain the JLR boss knew more about the car industry than he did.
The LR shutdown will affect the firm’s three car factories – at Halewood on Merseyside and Castle Bromwich and Solihull in the Midlands – which collectively built just under a third of Britain’s 1.5m cars last year. Its engine facility in Wolverhampton will also be affected. JLR models include the Jaguar F-Type, Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover Evoque.
Japanese rival Toyota said in August it will not build cars at its British factory on 1 November. BMW will halt production at its Oxford plant on 31 October and 1 November.
Carmakers have already stopped production once this year, bringing forward planned maintenance shutdowns to coincide with the original 29 March Brexit date. The move was intended to limit the cost of halting production by ensuring any disruption caused by Brexit came during a period when assembly lines were stationary.
With Brexit delayed, however, the stoppages proved needless, prompting dismay in the automotive sector at the “untold damage” being done to the industry by prolonged uncertainty.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said on Thursday a 3.3% increase in production numbers in August was not enough to make up for the lost output caused by the April production hiatus.
This year, the British car industry witnessed its worst period of decline since 2001 as rising global trade tensions and Brexit uncertainty combined to provide a dire operating environment for manufacturers.
Jaguar Land Rover to shut down UK factories for a week in November – The Guardian