Currently reading: Jaguar Land Rover boss: hard Brexit will cost jobs
Ralf Speth says "tens of thousands" of jobs will be lost if Britain doesn't secure a smooth exit from the European Union
Jimi Beckwith
News
3 mins read
11 September 2018

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) boss Ralf Speth has said that the backlash against diesel and fears over the impact of a 'hard' Brexit have led to job losses in the car industry - at a time when he believes jobs should have been added.

Speth, who has been CEO of JLR since 2010, used his speech at the first Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Summit in Birmingham to highlight his concerns over the potential impact Brexit could have on the firm. 

He said: “Jobs have been shed when they should have been created. A thousand lost as a result of diesel policy. Those numbers will be counted in the tens of thousands if we do not get the right Brexit deal.”

Speth has warned of the dangers of Brexit to JLR in the past, and highlighted the lack of clarity from the Government around the issue in his speech, adding: “Brexit is due to happen on the 29th of March next year. Currently, I do not even know if any of our manufacturing facilities in the UK will be able to function on the 30th.

“We will not be able to build cars, if the motorway to and from Dover becomes a car park, where the vehicle carrying parts - vital to our processes - is stationary. Any friction at our borders puts our production in jeopardy - at a cost of £60 million a day. Unfettered access to the Single Market is as important a part to our business, as wheels are to our cars.”

Speth said that clarity from the Government is vital to the company’s decision making: “Six months from Brexit and uncertainty means that many companies are being forced to make decisions about their businesses that will not be reversed, whatever the outcome, just to survive. Talk diesel, petrol, hybrid or electric. Free, frictionless trade and clarity are the paramount fuels for our business.”

Speth also said that the backlash against diesel has already cost 1000 JLR workers their jobs, with more at risk if it continues. He was particularly concerned by Government action against the sales of new diesel cars, rather than older cars.

“A disincentive has been placed on the newer, cleaner models, through tougher regulations and higher taxation," he said. "It has cost jobs; at Jaguar Land Rover 1000 people have been let go - with all the knock-on effects to their families and our local economy. More may be lost in the future.

“Let us focus on that we wish to build, rather than that we wish to ban.”

The job losses, which came from the brands’ Solihull facility, were confirmed in April, following a slump in UK sales for diesel cars. Between January and April 2018, just 33.5% of registrations were diesels in the UK, compared with 44% in the same period last year. 

It's not the first time Speth has warned of diesel and Brexit risks; Speth has been outspoken on the problems to JLR that a hard Brexit would cause, saying "diesel has to – needs to – have a future.” 

Despite JLR's move towards electric mobility, with numerous electric models arriving in the next few years following the introduction of the Jaguar I-Pace, Speth reiterated diesel's importance. He said: "new diesel will still be the right choice for many people. What will happen to our rural communities, the idyll of English life, if it is banned without alternative? Without the right infrastructure being put in place? All Hybrid powertrains require internal combustion – diesel and/or petrol - alongside electric technology."

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paddyb 12 September 2018

Has Speth never heard of Tesla?

I hear Ralf Speth moaning about the 'need for diesel' and wonder if he has ever heard of Tesla?  They have proven (with incredibly limited resources) that is is possible to build a very large SUV-type car with a long range, the Model X.  They did this based on a platform which first went on sale in 2012, the Model S.  Are JLR saying that 6 years on, with all the vast accumulated profits of the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, etc, etc they cannot come up with something which at least matches the Tesla Model X?  Clearly there is no need for diesel to power these large SUV's, it is a choice that JLR has made and times are now catching up with them.

xxxx 12 September 2018

Ahead of some

paddyb wrote:

... Are JLR saying that 6 years on, with all the vast accumulated profits of the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, etc, etc they cannot come up with something which at least matches the Tesla Model X?  Clearly there is no need for diesel to power these large SUV's, it is a choice that JLR has made and times are now catching up with them.

You mean something like an I-Pace.

 

paddyb 12 September 2018

xxxx wrote:

xxxx wrote:

You mean something like an I-Pace.

 

Yes, something like the I-Pace, except Range Rover / Range Rover Sport sized and shaped!

 

The I-Pace is a good start, but it is low volume and not even made by JLR itself.  I'm pretty sure if they could build 100k I-Paces this year, they would sell them.

 

The old diesel tech of the Range Rover / Range Rover Sport seem utterly archaic in comparison.

wheelman 12 September 2018

paddyb wrote:

paddyb wrote:

xxxx wrote:

You mean something like an I-Pace.

 

Yes, something like the I-Pace, except Range Rover / Range Rover Sport sized and shaped!

 

The I-Pace is a good start, but it is low volume and not even made by JLR itself.  I'm pretty sure if they could build 100k I-Paces this year, they would sell them.

 

The old diesel tech of the Range Rover / Range Rover Sport seem utterly archaic in comparison.

 

I'm not so sure they'll sell well. The sales pitch doesn't add-up in the same way it does for Tesla. Go and listen to customers in a Tesla showroom, their questions extend way beyond the car and this is where JLR has no answes. Case in point; Tesla runs monthly customer workshops to provide confidence to prospective buyers about moving from ICE to EV. Tesla is not selling a car and thats what Autocar and the rest of the car media have completely missed. 

reginald.bowler 12 September 2018

Hard Brexit.

Better work to agree a reasonable exit arrangement, then. That goes for the EU as much as the UK.

artill 11 September 2018

Its ironic. The diesel issue

Its ironic. The diesel issue was caused by the EU setting a target for CO2 that JLR could only reach by going diesel. Finally the public have cottoned on to the issues surrounding diesel, and JLR have nothing else to offer them. Of course they could sell petrol versions of most of their car, but then how would they reach the EU targets? Now we are leaving the EU, but we are still stuck with their targets. JLR always seem to be one step behind.

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