JLR boss highlights post-Brexit concerns

Chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover, Dr Ralf Speth has expressed the importance of “free and fair access” to the EU market while speaking on the BBC’s Radio 4 Today Programme.

 Dr Ralf Speth, CEO, Jaguar Land Rover.
Dr Ralf Speth, CEO, Jaguar Land Rover.

While being interviewed for the programme, Speth said that he believes an essential must for the industry to retain its current success is “free and fair access” to the EU market.

Currently, Europe represents one of the biggest export markets for Jaguar Land Rover, with the company importing a significant portion of its components from within Europe.

Although Speth declared his position to be in the remain camp, he described the challenges ahead as being “economic”, rather than “political”, noting, “We are where we are”.

He said that the challenges yet to be faced are ones which affect the entire industry, not just Jaguar Land Rover. Due to the nature of the automotive industry – i.e. its need for overseas talent and its reliance on global markets for both imports and exports, it is in a potentially more vulnerable position than other sectors and industries.

Speth warns the industry “to make sure we don’t suffer twice in bringing in parts, but also selling exporting vehicles out of the UK”. He urges that they need to prepare, do homework and make very good products.

The chief exec reiterated his belief that the industry can indeed prosper with free and fair trade, and access to overseas skilled workers. But, also that employees must work hard and invest themselves in make businesses stronger and more flexible.

JLR’s record-breaking 2016

Jaguar Land Rover has recently been announced as Britain’s largest automotive manufacturer, for the second year running.

Announced by the Society of Motor Manufactures and Traders (SMMT), JLR now accounts for almost a third (30%) of the country’s car production. Combined, the sector produced a record-breaking 1,727,471 vehicles in 2016, of which JLR produced 544,401, up 8% on the previous year.

Jaguar Land Rover has three manufacturing plants in the UK, based in Liverpool and the West Midlands. The company has undergone a dramatic transformation since the financial turmoil of 2007/08. Since 2009, when its annual production was 158,000, JLR has increased output by some 240%.

Earlier this month, JLR announced that it had broken the 600,000 barrier of commercially sold vehicles for the first time in its history, recording 604,009 for the financial year 2016/17.