25 September 2018

The Blame Game

Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. Often the stuff that comes out of the car industry is like that. What are some of the wierd happenings surrounding JLR? Some recent snippets.

1) In late 2016 workers at Jaguar Land Rover overwhelmingly backed a two year pay deal described by their union as "exceptional".

That's nice....if you can afford it.

2) More recently, JLR is transferring all production of its Land Rover Discovery model from the UK to a new plant its built in Slovakia.

I assume lower wages were a major part in that decision. I was thinking a lower priced model below the current range would have been ideal but are probably too far behind in engineering one.

3) The Jaguar E-Pace and I-Pace are made at Magna Steyr, Austria. The E-Pace will also be manufactured in China but neither of these Jaguar models will be made in the UK.

With UK production in decline, I wonder why the E-Pace has no place in UK manufacturing.

4) JLR blamed a collapse in diesel sales for the reason 1,000 workers will lose their jobs and reduce production. the company also claim that profit has also been affected by the decline.

That has been a challenge, but other car makers have had to face it and seem to have coped better.

5) JLR predicts it will spend £80bn in Britain over the next five years but that without a Brexit with the EU deal to their liking then this money could go elsewhere. Ultimately, it could result in UK plants closing.

Out comes the big stick to threaten if they don't get their way. Don't stand near the pram lest you get hit by flying toys as the baby has a tantrum.

My take:

Moving production off shore while sales for models made in the UK decline - due to their aging model cycle - is problematic for JLR. I can't recall reading this from any JLR press releases but that would involve accepting responsibility.

When Honda realised that the European car market wasn't suitable to its way of doing business, it didn't close its UK operation. Rather it turned it into a global centre for Civic production, with cars exported around the world. Europe now takes a small part of its output.

This option seems well beyond the capabilities if JLS's current crop of managers. Having moved production elsewhere renders a move such as Honda's impossible. The high wages it thinks it can afford isn't helpful. It's lack of lower priced volume models makes keeping UK factories busy a challenge.

Of course it's easy to blame external factors for business woes. However, going public with them comes across to me as playing the blame game and not getting on with finding solutions. Honda is a case of a company that got on quietly with sorting a problem.

Honda UK gone global. Pic source and interesting article MEMUK

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