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November 30, 2005

UK: Jaguar downplays production cut reports

Jaguar has played down reports that parent company Ford is looking to cut production at the UK-based luxury carmaker.

Jaguar has played down reports that parent company Ford is looking to cut production at the UK-based luxury car maker.

A report in the Wall Street Journal today (30 November) claimed Ford is planning to cut Jaguar production by as much as 7% next year. Ford may also sell its Browns Lane plant, in Coventry, the report added. However Jaguar today told just-auto that these measures were merely “options” at the moment.

Communications manager Ken McConomy said: “Jaguar has a solid production base in the UK and is positioning itself to strengthen its business in an industry that grows increasingly competitive.

“We are busy working through our recovery plan at the moment and as you know conditions for our industry are getting even tougher and of course we do have to look at options like this, but that is it at this stage – just an option.

“It is too early to be getting into any specific details of what may be considered,” he added.

Citing people familiar with the situation, the Wall Street Journal said Ford had drawn up plans to cut the brand’s production volume by about 6 to 7% in 2006.

According to Reuters, Ford lost US$284m in the third quarter, and its North American vehicle operations have lost more than US$1.4 bn before taxes so far this year.

Ford’s domestic sales were down by over 23% last month, with light truck volumes declining 32.8% as several models brought in less than half their 2004 sales.

Reuters also today reported that Jaguar was considering its options over selling its Browns Lane factory, the marque’s home since 1928. Sources had told the news agency that the automaker has been approached by several interested parties.

Jaguar last year consolidated production at Castle Bromwich in Birmingham and its plant near Liverpool, leaving administration, a wood working facility and its heritage centre at Browns Lane.

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