Jaguar Land Rover is reducing production at its UK factories until spring | JaguarLand Rover

Jaguar Land Rover is cutting production at its UK factories until spring, a sign of its continuing struggle to source semiconductors amid global shortages.

The automaker, whose chief executive, Thierry Bolloré, announced his resignation last week, has decided to cut production at the Solihull and Halewood plants between January and the end of March as it tries to prioritize its models the most profitable, industry sources said.

JLR and other automakers have been plagued by semiconductor shortages since the start of 2021. Many automakers cut computer chip orders at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, only to find themselves at the back of the queue waiting when the demand roared.

British car production in October was just over half of 2019’s pre-pandemic level, according to data released Friday by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, a lobby group.

The industry in the UK produced 69,524 cars, down 48% from 2019, although this was a 7% improvement on last year.

JLR, the UK’s biggest automaker, announced a record order book of more than 205,000 cars in November, but chip shortages have complicated its efforts to ramp up production of new versions of its Range Rovers and Range Rovers. Rover Sport, both manufactured in Solihull. , and its Defender, made in Slovakia.

The Solihull plant in the West Midlands will go from two shifts to one in the parts of the plant that produce the low-cost Range Rover Velar and Jaguar F-Pace, while adding an additional shift to produce the panels Range Rover bodywork. The factory in Halewood, Merseyside, will also move to one shift. The plant produces the Discovery Sport and the smaller Range Rover Evoque.

The new disruption comes as JLR’s Indian owner, Tata, seeks a new chief executive for the company, following the surprise announcement that Bollore has resigned for “personal reasons”. The departure has raised questions about JLR’s future strategy, and in particular its approach to electrifying its product line – although the company insists the strategy will remain unchanged.

In the shorter term, automakers are also expected to face falling demand as the UK faces an expected long recession and falling living standards.

JLR has posted losses for the past 18 months, but when the company presented the latest financial results in November, Bolloré said he believed semiconductor supply would improve in the coming months. .

He said, “We expect to continue to improve our performance in the second half as new agreements with semiconductor partners come into effect, enabling us to build and deliver more vehicles to our customers.”

JLR has not yet planned to reduce shifts after the end of March and is working to secure its long-term supply of semiconductors. Last month it announced a deal with US-based Wolfspeed to supply silicon carbide semiconductors.

A JLR spokeswoman said, “We continue to actively manage the operating models of our manufacturing plants as the industry experiences continued disruption to the global semiconductor supply chain.

“Demand for our vehicles remains strong. We expect our performance to continue to improve in the second half of the year as new agreements with semiconductor partners come into effect, allowing us to build and deliver more vehicles to our customers.

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