Despite record sales this year, and the impending release of a strong successor to the marquee’s most successful vehicle, Jaguar is to shed 400 jobs. However, the emphasis is on skills, not cost, the firm says – and the fact that it’s hiring 95 new graduates at the same time seems to bear this viewpoint out.

Jaguar has announced the introduction of a voluntary redundancy program through which the company hopes to shed 400 jobs. This will amount to 3% of the workforce, and is seen by some as a continuation of the cost-cutting drive implemented by parent company Ford nine months ago.

Of Jaguar’s 12,000 employees, 10,600 are based in Britain. Ford has already reduced its UK workforce considerably in recent years with the closure of its Dagenham plant. Communication manager Kay Francis said the company was confident that the 400 redundancy packages would be accepted, and stressed that no compulsory redundancies would be made.

Jaguar is focusing on switching its skills mix among the workforce, something made evident by the hiring of 95 new graduates this year. The company is gearing itself up for a sustained growth period.

Jaguar announced the fastest growth in its history for Q2 2002, with overall sales in Europe increasing by 52%. In the US, the company’s biggest market, it was the year’s fastest-growing franchise, with sales increasing 34%.

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Jaguar’s sales in April were 60% higher than the same month last year, at 11,665 globally. With the introduction of the new XJ saloon – the biggest selling Jaguar model of all time – Jaguar should continue to see increases.

SOURCE: DATAMONITOR COMMENTWIRE (c) 2002 Datamonitor. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without prior written consent. Datamonitor shall not be liable for errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.