Jobs at risk as JLR confirms Discovery switch to Slovakia

Jaguar car

Two years ago the firm - owned by India's Tata Motors - insisted that its Slovakia plant would "complement" its United Kingdom operations.

"The potential losses of some agency employed staff in the United Kingdom is a tough one but forms part of our long-term manufacturing strategy as we transform our business globally", the company said in a statement.

The company said in 2016 that it would assemble Discovery SUVs in Slovakia once a new plant there came on line, without revealing that all production of the model - which was redesigned in 2017 - would be moved out of the U.K. It also has an agreement with Magna Steyr, a unit of Magna Inc., to build the Jaguar E-Pace and all-electric I-Pace models in Austria.

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A JLR statement also detailed plans for a refit at the Halewood production facility in Liverpool ahead of the next Range Rover Evoque's launch next year - meaning the entry-level Range Rover will continue to be produced at the plant.

However, today it said that all production of the model will be moved overseas in early 2019 and that the move was likely to result in job losses for some agency workers in Britain.

The group saw pre-tax profit slump to £364million in the three months to March 31, down from £676million in the same period previous year. The next generation Range Rover Evoque will borrow its design language from the new Range Rover Velar and will most likely debut later this year.

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The existing plant in Solihull, which now manufactures the Land Rover Discovery, is being retooled by Indian-owned Jaguar Land Rover to accommodate previous statements made by the company that all new models will be electrified by 2020.

Diesel sales have been falling in the wake of additional surcharges and changes to VED introduced by the Government last April.

The company said retail sales were up 24 per cent in overseas markets, 20.9 per cent in the United Kingdom and 16.7 per cent in North America. The biggest plant in the company, it now employs 9,000 people. This will be due to the crossover delay in Slovakian production beginning next year, and the redevelopment of the Solihull plant which is already underway.

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