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1,100 jobs to go at Jaguar

Car production is to end at Jaguar's Brown's Lane factory in Coventry with the loss of 1,100 jobs, the company has announced today.

The assembly of Jaguar models will transfer to the nearby Castle Bromwich plant, with 400 voluntary redundancies.

Many of Brown's Lane's 2,500 workers will move to Castle Bromwich but 310 staff will remain in Coventry to make wood finishes for Jaguar models.

Union leaders were told the news at a meeting at 11 o’clock this morning by senior Ford and Jaguar executives.

Jaguar cars are made at three sites in the UK and all have been producing at less than capacity.

The other two plants are at Castle Bromwich, in the West Midlands, and Halewood on Merseyside.

Ford also said Jaguar would pull out of Formula One at the end of the season.

About 750 jobs will be lost as a whole across the Jaguar Group, Ford said.

Jaguar has seen demand for its models fall in the US and the cuts at Browns Lane is part of a resulting cost cutting drive.

"This plan is essential to Jaguar's future and will enable us to contribute more positively to Ford's bottom line,'' said Jaguar chairman Joe Greenwell in a statement.

The Jaguar cuts will generate $120m (£67m) in annual savings, he said. The Jaguar Formula One racing team, which began in 2000 and never won a race, will be put up for sale at the end of the current season.

Trade unions led by Tony Woodley, general secretary of the Transport & General Workers' Union, and Derek Simpson, leader of Amicus, say the company promised in 1998 that Browns Lane would remain open and that Ford targets for improving quality and efficiency had been met. The three Jaguar factories are among the most efficient of any Ford factory in the world, the union said.

"We have a job security agreement for that plant that was ratified in good faith, and we expect it to be honoured,'' said Woodley yesterday. He said unions "would fight" to save the plant and may strike at other Ford factories in the UK

Ford recently considered closing its Land Rover plant in Solihull, Birmingham, but reached an agreement with unions on a plan to make it more competitive and in the process safeguarded 8,000 jobs.

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