Ford-owned Jaguar is cutting 400 jobs - about 150 at its plant at its X-type plant in Halewood, Merseyside, and a further 250 from factories in Birmingham and Coventry, the BBC reported on its website.

According to the BBC, the firm has said it hopes all the losses will be achieved with voluntary redundancy and early retirement.

Jaguar spokesman Colin Cook told the BBC that the cuts were being made to improve the firm's "skill mix" and had nothing to do with sales figures.

He added, according to the BBC: "It is an entirely voluntary programme. The terms we are offering are extremely competitive and I don't think we will have any problems getting volunteers. This is more about getting the right skill mix. Global sales are actually up by 57% from last year and in the US they are up by 63%."

The BBC said that Jaguar last month announced its Halewood plant was to periodically operate a four-day week and it also planned to stop production of the X-type for a week in October as a "prudent measure".

Some of the departing staff at Halewood will be production workers, but cuts in the Midlands are not expected to affect the factory floor, the BBC reported.