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Jaguar Land Rover to slash UK jobs

Jaguar Land Rover will cut 10 per cent of its workforce, mostly in its home market, as Britain’s biggest car maker faces lower Chinese demand and a slump in European diesel sales.

Based in central England, JLR will cut some 4500 out of 42,500 jobs, targeting managerial roles rather than production-line workers as it battles to return to profitability.

Owned by India’s Tata Motors, JLR also said it will build electric drive units at its Wolverhampton engine plant and create a new battery assembly centre in Hams Hall, near Birmingham, as it develops a greener vehicle range.

JLR builds a higher proportion of its cars in Britain than any other major or medium-sized car maker and has spent millions preparing for Brexit, in case of tariffs or customs checks.

But it lost STG354 million ($A629m) between April and September 2018 and had already cut around 1000 roles in Britain, shut its Solihull plant for two weeks and announced a three-day week at its Castle Bromwich site.

JLR’s chief executive Ralf Speth said on Thursday he needed to go further as part of the company’s turnaround plan.

“We are taking decisive action to help deliver long-term growth, in the face of multiple geopolitical and regulatory disruptions as well as technology challenges facing the automotive industry,” Speth said.

JLR, which became Britain’s biggest car maker in 2016, had been on course to build around 1 million vehicles by the turn of the decade.

The company reported a 4.6 per cent drop in full-year sales to just under 600,000 vehicles.

It has hired staff in China and Slovakia in recent years as it opens new plants and last year unveiled plans to cut costs and improve cash flows by STG2.5 billion ($A4.4b) .

Ford also said on Thursday it will cut thousands of jobs in Europe, exit unprofitable markets and discontinue loss-making vehicle lines as part of a turnaround effort aimed at improving profit margins in the region.

Several companies have warned of a slowdown in China and the effect of trade wars.

It comes as automakers pump billions into greener technologies to meet stricter emissions rules and customers shun combustion engines in the face of higher levies.

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