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Jaguar outlines future as workers discuss strikes

Jaguar workers are today due to consider taking strike action over parent company Ford's decision to end car production at the premium brand's Browns Lane plant in Coventry.

A total of 425 jobs will be transferred to Castle Bromwich and a further 400 jobs lost through voluntary redundancies at Browns Lane.

Trade unions Amicus and the Transport and General Workers Union say the cuts were decided without consultation. As a result Amicus is to table an emergency motion to the Labour Party conference calling for a similar system to Germany where employers must try to reach agreement with workers on job losses. If an agreement is not reached the decision has to go to a labour court.

Meanwhile, Jaguar has announced a comprehensive business plan designed to reshape the company.

The plan includes:

  • introducing a new aluminium body XK sports car codenamed X150 that will go on sale in 2006; strengthening of the XJ range with a premium diesel engine saloon and a new long wheelbase version in the US, a new high-performance X-Type diesel in Europe and an X-Type estate to be launched in the US.
  • a review of Jaguar's retail and market infrastructure throughout the world, and revenue enhancing measures that include a reduction in daily rental units. Production will also be cut by 15,000 units in 2004.

    Joe Greenwell, chairman and CEO Jaguar and Land Rover, says: "Our new business plan was developed following a rigorous review by the Jaguar management team. We examined a number of alternatives and I would not be presenting this plan today had I not been absolutely convinced that it is the right plan and completely necessary.

    "The plan is wide-ranging, extends over a number of years and touches most aspects of the business. It also includes some severe measures that we do not take lightly. But that is a reflection of the highly competitive and global nature of the business we are in.

    "The fact is, despite significant sales growth and excellent levels of quality in recent years, we have not been able to keep pace with significantly larger competitors.

    We have too much capacity and this is our underlying structural problem. Our bottom line has further deteriorated this year with the weakness of the dollar, unprecedented incentives in the premium market and the shift from premium cars to SUV's. We had no choice but to take action and I firmly believe that all the elements of this plan are essential if we are to stem the losses."

    Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company, executive vice president – Premier Automotive Group and Ford of Europe, says: "We have faced and tackled the fundamental reality, that Jaguar simply cannot support three assembly plants with annual sales of 125,000 cars."

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