Tata Group-owned Jaguar-Land Rover to revive largest plant by mid-May

JLR also announced sales figures for 2020 and the figures show a significant impact across the globe, with China as the only recovering marke
The Tata Group-owned premium automobile manufacturer Jaguar-Land Rover will resume vehicle production from May 18, 2020, starting with manufacturing plants in Solihull in the UK as well as in Slovakia and Austria, company officials said.

JLR's joint venture plant in Changsha, China, has been in operation since the middle of February and officials say its showrooms there are seeing customers return with sales picking up. 

The opening of JLR's factories around the world will be rolled out in a sequential manner that will be determined by the conditions and government laws around the coronavirus epidemic.

The company had suspended all production in late March in India. "Here in India, opening up will take time however, its key to note that the Chinese market is their prime driver of margins and sales which is a positive indicator when combined with the re-opening of plants in EUK and other areas," said Suraj Ghosh, principal analyst, IHS Markit. Recent quarters have been sluggish for JLR with sales dipping thanks to the epidemic breaking out in China. "The Solihull plant is the largest vehicle plant for JLR and so operationalising it is critical for the car-maker," he said.

JLR also announced sales figures for 2020 and the figures show a significant impact across the globe, with China as the only  recovering market

In the last year (FY2020), JLR sold 508, 659 cars down 12 per cent from the year before. The contraction was much sharper in the last quarter between January and March, with total sales falling by 31 per cent to 108,869, analysts say.

The company also furloughed staff world-wide and has prepared the top management for salary cuts, analysts say.
The company's vehicles are locally manufactured at the Tata Motors plant in Pimpri, Pune, where it manufactures the Jaguar XE, F-pace, Range Rover Evoque, Range Rover Velar and Range Rover Sport, a company official confirmed.

There is no clarity on when the Indian operations will be resumed, but they will hinge on the containment of the epidemic and the local laws around it. JLR officials said that the company is developing  protocol and guidelines to support a safe return to work for its factory workers across the world and will adopt strict social distancing measures across its business.

While the year 2019 was a slow one for most luxury car-makers in India, and is still small compared to top markets in the world, Jaguar Land Rover which delivered 5,000 cars actually sold more cars than Audi and climbed to the third spot behind BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

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