DR JONATHAN Owens, Lecturer in Operations Management at the University of Salford, comments on the latest developments at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), which has announced a two week shutdown at its Castle Bromwich site.
The announcement comes after approximately 1,000 workers at the site will move from a five-day to a three-day week from October until Christmas. Dr Owens says the company may have been too slow to get into hybrid vehicles.
He said: “This latest announcement comes after a ‘war of words’ relating to Brexit and the UK government’s perceived message about owning a new diesel car. The ongoing discussion on how this may impact the environment, especially in light of headline news related to climate change and of course the tax added and rapid value deprecation, has all led to a rapid downturn in diesel car sales, which are predominantly the engines used at JLR.
“JLR announced in April that 1,000 UK jobs would go, because of the rapid decline in diesel sales, which had a big impact on their profits, when compared to the same period the previous year. This is a great shame when considering the new generation diesels are ultra low emission produced by the company. However it seems this is not considered the next generation by its customers.
“It is evident the company are making big financial investments and technology upgrades to meet its low-carbon commitments. In addition, the company has said there would be an electric option for each of its models post 2020. Their first venture into the Electric Vehicle (EV) market was the Jaguar I-Pace, starting at £59,000, and was made in Austria. Also, the company has revealed they will is to transfer all production of its Land Rover Discovery model from the West Midlands to a plant in Slovakia by the end of this year and perhaps more production there in the short term, whilst they develop and implement EV production lines in the Midlands.
“So perhaps a significant question is are they moving quickly enough for their traditional market? It appears evident the company has been very slow in getting into hybrids and now they have to speed up in getting fully into electric vehicles, especially if they want a piece of the EV market.”