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JLR boss warns thousands of jobs at risk without the 'right' Brexit deal

By Simon Penfold | Business | Published:

The boss of Jaguar Land Rover has warned that a hard Brexit would cost the carmaker more than £1.2 billion a year and wipe out thousands of British jobs.

Jaguar Land Rover's engine plant on the i54

Ralf Speth was speaking just before Prime Minister Theresa May at the Birmingham launch of a £106 million fund to develop zero-emissions transport.

He said a 'no deal' Brexit could hit the vital supply chains to his car factories in Solihull, Castle Bromwich and Halewood as well as the company's £1bn engine making plant on the i54 site at Wolverhampton.

He added: "Just one part missing could mean stopping production at a cost of £60m a day. That is a huge risk. We depend on free, frictionless, seamless logistics."

Ralf Speth, boss of Jaguar Land Rover

The company makes one in every three cars produced in the UK and its factories employ nearly 40,000 people. Mr Speth said the company supported another 260,000 UK jobs in its supply chain in the UK.

The boss of the West Midlands-based luxury carmaker warned that if the Government doesn’t get “the right Brexit”, then his company would be forced to consider moving jobs and production to another part of Europe.

Addressing the Birmingham meeting he said the world was living "in an age of revolution", including Brexit.

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Mr Speth said 1,000 jobs at JLR had been lost earlier this year as a result of diesel policy. "Those numbers will be counted in the tens of thousands if we do not get the right Brexit deal. The worst of times, when we should be looking forward to the best of times.

"Brexit is due to happen on the 29th of March next year. Currently, I do not even know, if any of our manufacturing facilities in the UK will be able to function on the 30th .

"Bluntly, we will not be able to build cars, if the motorway to and from Dover becomes a car park, where the vehicle carrying parts – vital to our processes – is stationary.

"Our plants in Solihull, Castle Bromwich, Wolverhampton and Halewood, produce 3,000 cars a day, using 25 million components. We are dependent on ‘just in time’ processes. Any friction at our borders puts our production in jeopardy - at a cost of £60 million a day.

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"Frictionless trade is not an aspiration, but a necessity for Jaguar Land Rover. Unfettered access to the Single Market is as important a part to our business, as wheels are to our cars.

"We are a quintessentially British company. That is our identity. Our commitment to this country is deep.

"Yet now, thanks to higher costs and the UK’s poor productivity rates, it is thousands of pounds cheaper to produce vehicles in Slovakia than Solihull.

"What decisions will I be forced to make, if Brexit means not merely that costs go up, but that we cannot physically build cars on time and on budget in the UK?

"Be assured; we are firmly committed to the UK – it’s our home.

"But a hard Brexit will cost Jaguar Land Rover more than £1.2 billion a year - it's horrifying, wiping our profit, destroying investment in the autonomous, zero-emissions, we want to share."

Simon Penfold

By Simon Penfold
Business Editor - @SPenfold_star

Business Editor based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton, looking for stories big & small.

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