Jaguar-Land Rover chief in plea for help

Jaguar-Land Rover chief executive David Smith is calling on the Government to “put oil back into the engine” of automotive companies. He says the UK car industry faces a “double whammy” where “consumers aren’t spending and consumers aren’t lending”.

He says that the industry is not asking the Government for a bail-out but is calling for help through loans or loan guarantees. Two months ago, the industry called on business secretary Peter Mandelson to offer it a similar rescue package to that approved by the US congress.

Jaguar-Land Rover, which is owned by India’s Tata Motors, cut 450 jobs last week due to falling demand, and has not ruled out more redundancies. The company is struggling with falling car sales impacting on the business’s profits.

“We are clearly in very difficult times, in difficult trading conditions,” says Smith. “Somebody needs to put oil back into the engine in my view and really the only people who can do that are the Government.”

Representatives from the automotive industry are due to meet with the Government next week to discuss options on how to protect jobs and boost demand.

Tata bought Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford in June last year for about $2.3bn (£1.6bn). The company has four sites in the West Midlands one at Halewood, near Liverpool.

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