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800 jobs lost as Ford axe falls on UK assemblers

Ford-owned Jaguar and Land Rover have announced plans to axe 800 jobs at their UK plants, despite both marques increasing sales. The firms, which employ about 11,000 staff each, expect to achieve the losses through early retirement and voluntary redundancy.

Land Rover, which saw sales rise 35.03 per cent from 845 to 1141 in August compared to the same period last year, is expecting to cut 400 staff. The majority of the losses will come from its Solihull plant in the west Midlands.

Jaguar is to cut 400 jobs from its UK workforce. About 150 posts - including production workers - will go at its Halewood plant in Merseyside and another 250 from factories in Birmingham and Coventry. But the cuts in the Midlands will not impact production on the factory floor.

A small number of workers affected by the news will be offered labour at Browns Lane, Coventry, as Jaguar gears up for production of the new XJ. Other employees will be looked after at Castle Bromwich or reinstated near Christmas.

For the year to August, Jaguar sales are up from 10,756 to 18,974 - a rise of 76.40 per cent. Last month, 886 units were sold compared to 752 over the same period last year. A spokeswoman for Land Rover and Jaguar emphasised the move was about creating the right skill mix and says it is not connected to the situation at Ford, which reported record losses after a sharp fall in worldwide profits.

In August, Jaguar said its Halewood plant would periodically operate a four-day week. It wants to stop production of the baby Jag for one week in October. Land Rover added that the market was unsettled because of subdued consumer confidence in America.

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