Jaguar Land Rover on Monday confirmed local media reports it had halted production at its main car plant in Castle Bromwich, Birmingham, for two weeks. A spokesman said the move had been announced to workers last week and had been "circulated externally" by mid-week.

"This [news] was out there at the beginning of last week," the spokesman said. "When the employees came back after the prolonged Christmas shutdown, the revised schedule for January was confirmed to them and that included the two weeks non-production which we're now into."

The factory builds Jaguar's XF and XJ sedans and the sporty XK coupe and convertible models and employs about 3,500 workers.

Jaguar chief executive Mike O'Driscoll warned at the Detroit show last week that Jaguar and Land Rover might have to cut more jobs in response to falling car sales. He said the company was looking hard at its cost base to ensure the business structure reflects "current market realities".

On 14 January, JLR said it would cut 450 jobs due to a "severe" reduction in demand for new cars. It also said managers would not receive any bonuses in 2009.

Those job losses would be spread between management roles and salaried agency staff, JLR added.