Body pressings supplier Krupp Camford announced it had laid off 60 temporary staff at its Llanelli plant. The company’s decision followed TRW’s shedding of 42 jobs.
“Compared with the Midlands our job losses are microscopic, and most companies based in Wales deal with other VMs, so they won’t be too badly exposed. However, up to 700 job losses is enough,” Tim Williams, the Welsh Automotive Forum’s chief executive, told AM-online.
Welsh-based component suppliers started looking for alternative customers following BMW’s disposal of Rover five years ago. “Many companies are still busy and have full order books – while we don’t have any vehicle assembly in Wales, companies have been able to weather the storm,” Williams added.
Welsh task force meets
The Welsh Automotive Task Force has met one week after the collapse of MG Rover to see if financial and management assistance is available to component companies supplying the troubled VM.
The task force, which met at Waterton Technology Centre, Bridgend, has opened a telephone hotline for businesses affected.
Welsh firms are expected to share some of the DTI’s £40m MG Rover support grant, and further funds from the Welsh Assembly are anticipated.
In addition to between 600 and 700 jobs in components suppliers, the future of the 19 Welsh Rover dealerships hangs in the balance. Each on average employs 30 people. Just one dealership, however, was represented at the meeting.
It is believed that some Rover dealers could switch to selling the Kia brand, as the Malaysian company’s products appeal to the same customer profile as Rover products.
“The meeting was well represented, with businesses mainly concerned with cashflow and paying businesses further down their own supply chain.
“I think those who attended learned a lot about the current situation at MG Rover and what assistance they can expect.
“We will be working hard on their behalf to secure any funding they are eligible for but in addition lobby the Welsh Assembly Government for special aid to help the smaller Welsh companies who would fall outside the stated aid arrangements.
“Suppliers said they were pleased to get together, and it’s good they feel part of a team. There will be another meeting next Wednesday,” says Williams.
The meeting came five years and one day after BMW put Rover up for sale, which in turn led to the creation of the Welsh Automotive Task Force as components suppliers sought to secure their future.