Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: The Hills of North Georgia,USA
Land Rover: Industry News
Production of the Land Rover Freelander is to be moved from Solihull, near Birmingham, to the Jaguar X-Type factory at Halewood, Merseyside. This is part of a new cost-cutting programme for Ford's Premier Automotive Group (PAG), which comprises Land Rover, Jaguar, Volvo and Aston Martin. The move will take place in 2006, when the next-generation Freelander will go into production, and will leave Solihull to make the next Discovery and Defender models, which will share the same basic platform, and the Range Rover. It will affect 1000 Land Rover employees, though the company says that 1000 new jobs will be created at Halewood, and relocation packages will be offered.
This move makes the long-term future of the Solihull plant look a little less assured, despite a confirmed investment of Ł200million in the facility over the next few years. Ford has struggled with problems of productivity, vehicle quality and disputes over working practices at the facility; assembly staff have even protested against management requests for them to stop smoking whilst working, or eating sandwiches whilst on the production line, for example - practices unthinkable at Honda, Nissan or Toyota's UK factories. PAG chairman and CEO Mark Fields has said that if matters do not improve, the factory will be closed. Those seeking relocation to Halewood will have to sign an agreement to accept the stricter working practices enforced at that plant.
Ford is also expected to announce 2000 redundancies amongst its white-collar staff in America on Friday. This will cut 5 percent of its back-office employees, in a move to cut its wage bill and stem falling profits, and is in addition to the 10 percent cut already achieved in the last two years through voluntary early retirements. The company is also to cut back on its use of agency staff, and freeze hiring for the foreseeable future. Negotiations with unions have begun, and further measures are expected to include the closure of four US factories and the redundancies of thousands more factory-floor workers.
Employees of Peugeot in the UK are also negotiating this week. They have voted to take a cut in working hours, rather than shutting down the night shift, which would have meant the loss of 700 jobs. This will take effect from September, when production of the 206 will be reduced.
My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.
My next Ford.....