UK Auto calls for restart support as Covid crisis threatens one in six jobs
UK auto industry calls for dedicated restart package to save jobs and pave the way for recovery.
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Luxury car maker Jaguar Land Rover has reported fourth quarter and full year pre-tax losses which will lead to the axing of around 1,100 agency staff at its car plants, after sales fell off a cliff following the coronavirus pandemic.
The group, which makes cars at three UK sites in Halewood, Merseyside, and Solihull and Castle Bromwich in the West Midlands, has announced results for the year ending March 31.
It said it made a pre-tax loss of £501m in the fourth quarter, while the pre-tax loss for the full year was £422m, on revenues of £5.4bn and £23bn, respectively.
Fourth quarter retail sales were 109,869 units, down 30.9% year-on-year, while full year sales totalled 508,659 vehicles, down 12.1% year-on-year.
The group said the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted quarter four and full-year fiscal figures for 2019/20.
The company said it returned to profitability with improved operating cash flow in the second and third quarters, reflecting double-digit retail sales growth in China, as well as cost and cash flow improvements under its Project Charge transformation programme.
A renewed focus on the environment, will also provide opportunities within transport – which accounts for a third of the UK’s total carbon emissions.
Earlier this year, heir to JCB Jo Bamford revealed plans for a 3,000 strong fleet of UK built hydrogen buses.
Road tanker specialist Abbey Logistics Group has ordered 52 tractor units from DAF and Mercedes Benz in a £4.7m deal.
The order by the Wirral group follows a “significant improvement in financial performance, despite COVID-19”.
Chief executive Steve Granite said: “Performance in the current financial year to June 2020 has seen a major improvement on previous years and a return to profitability since earlier this year.
Jaguar Land Rover’s Castle Bromwich plant will be remaining closed until August
The luxury car group, which has its engine manufacturing centre at the i54 north of Wolverhampton, hopes to progressively reopen the site, which produces Jaguar XE, XF and F-Type Jaguars and employs 2,000, from August 10.
JLR has also entered into agreements with lenders in China for a secured term loan facility of £556.3 million, which its first debt financing in China.
Britain’s automotive industry is set to benefit from a £73.5 million government investment to develop green technologies and safeguard jobs, Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi announced on the 23rd June.
Ten projects across the UK will receive a share of this new investment to develop cutting-edge technology for the next generation of electric taxis, cars and vans – including recyclable batteries, advanced electrical systems and ultra-lightweight components.
This funding will contribute to the automotive sector’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic by safeguarding more than 14,000 UK research and manufacturing jobs. It will also enable the manufacture of a greater volume of low emission cars, commercial vehicles and components right here in the UK.
A consortium led by Sheffield-based Magtec has been awarded a grant in the latest round of APC funding, committed to achieving low carbon technology in the automotive industry. The £6m funding package is focused on scaling up production in the UK of Magtec’s electric motors.
The project aims to use the latest automation technologies and establish Magtec as a tier one supplier to the global transport industry.
It is expected to create 65 jobs at Magtec and a further 165 across South Yorkshire and the wider region as the company strengthens its UK supply chain.