Jaguar Land Rover To Close Plant, Add Model

LONDON (AP) -- Jaguar Land Rover said Thursday that it plans to close one factory in England and is introducing a new model of the Range Rover sport utility in a bid to reverse recent losses.

The firm, owned by Tata Motors of India, said it will decide next year whether to shut its factory at Castle Bromwich, which makes Jaguars, or its Solihull plant, which makes Range Rovers.

No compulsory redundancies will be involved in the closure, the company said, but the GMB union said it would oppose the plans.

"We are now in a meeting with the company to hear details of their plans. GMB will be opposing everything we have heard so far," said Bert Hill, GMB's regional officer.

Jaguar Land Rover has about 5,000 workers in Solihull, 2,000 in Castle Bromwich and 1,800 at Halewood near Liverpool, where it says it plans to add 800 jobs in the restructuring.

The company also confirmed it will move into production with the compact LRX Range Rover, which was introduced as a concept model at the Detroit auto show last year. The British government has offered a grant up to 27 million pounds ($43.7 million) to support the new model.

"This is a plan that recognizes the impact the economic collapse has had on our business, and at the same time the opportunities that lie ahead for these two great brands," said Jaguar Land Rover CEO David Smith.

"We are confident that a new more efficient and competitive structure combined with future investment will unlock the true potential of this business."

A 52 percent drop in sales at Jaguar Land Rover dragged Tata Motors to lose 3.3 billion rupees ($67.2 million) in the April-June quarter. Tata acquired the British car maker from Ford last year.

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