Jaguar Land Rover temporarily close Solihull factory

JLR's Solihull factory will close for two weeks due to slow global sales. It joins Rolls-Royce and Mini with temporary closures

The are a lot of factors that can effect manufacturing, especially in a segment as busy as automotive. We’ve already reported on how things like Brexit complications are to close the Rolls-Royce factory for a few weeks, but a global decline in car sales last month will force Jaguar Land Rover to shut its Solihull plant for two weeks.

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Lessening demand causes a number of headaches for car manufacturers. Complications like where to store excess product and the potential production of specifications customers don’t want are high risk factors, with few car makers impervious to those effects. Jaguar Land Rover had already announced that its other factory in Castle Bromwich will move to a three-day working week after Christmas 2018.

The shutdown is intended to preserve jobs, with staff keeping their position and being paid over the shutdown period. That said, it is a clear sign of a market currently in decline.

September’s global car sales were over 12% down when compared to last year with China, a key market for Jaguar Land Rover, suffering the biggest dent of 46%. Industry-wide car sales were down 20.5% last month in the UK.

So why is all this happening? 12 months ago record car registrations were in the headlines, yet factories are now reducing production. The cause is a combination of factors ranging from the uncertainty of buying diesel models after the Volkswagen emissions scandal, trade issues surrounding Brexit, and mixed messages on the adoption of electric cars.

Felix Brautigam, Jaguar Land Rover Chief Commercial Officer said: “As a business we are continuing to experience challenging conditions in some of our key markets. 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. Despite this, we expect lower tariffs on UK imports to be beneficial over the full year.”

The United Kingdom produces and exports several automotive products with Mini, Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls-Royce, Morgan, David Brown, Nissan and Infiniti all building cars in the country. But without the uncertainty of Brexit being resolved quickly, the British car industry will struggle to move forward.

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