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Old 12-13-2002, 06:07   #1 (permalink)
Mr. Embargo
 
Join Date: May 2001
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Land Rover Unit Plans to Cut 1,000 J

London, Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co.'s Land Rover sports-utility vehicle unit plans to cut 1,000 jobs at its Solihull, England, factory to reduce costs as it faces increased competition.

Land Rover is in talks with unions scaling back the plant's 8,200-person workforce by 12 percent over the next year, said James Andrew, a Land Rover spokesman. There will be no large-scale firings, he said.

``The sport-utility market is tough and we need to stay ahead of the game,'' said Andrew. The reduction will be achieved through voluntary departures and by dropping contract workers, he said.

Ford wants its Jaguar, Volvo and Land Rover luxury brands to generate a third of revenue by 2005, compared with a fifth currently, to help it return to profit. Porsche AG and Volkswagen AG are introducing so-called off-road vehicles to take on Land Rover.

Ford Chief Operating Officer Nick Scheele in October said there would be no compulsory departures at either Land Rover or the Jaguar luxury car unit.

Land Rover has about 750 workers on short-term contracts who were hired as the carmaker ramped up production this year of new Range Rover and Discovery models, Andrew said. About half of the contracts won't be renewed after the Dec. 25 and 26 Christmas holiday, he said.

Land Rover is also stopping production of its Freelander model as of Christmas, a week early, to prevent a build-up of inventory, he said.

The story was reported early today by the Times of London.
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