The European Investment Bank has agreed that JLR needs a little boost to stay in business… so long as they meet certain criteria. JLR has, so they will be receiving the money and keeping jobs.
With sales down 22% - and car production down 59% - from this time last year, the UK car industry wasn’t just blowing exhaust smoke when it asked the government for some extra cash to stay afloat. JLR has cut staff by 450 since January ’09 and are looking at another 300 “salaried redundancies” to go within the next few months. Additionally, staff has agreed, via union vote, to freeze hourly wages and hold to a maximum 35-hour work week in order to save the remaining jobs. It’s estimated that 50,000 British jobs are absolutely dependent on JLR.
Today, the European Investment Bank has doffed its hat, with a caveat. As the bank is holding all of the cards, they used the opportunity to insist that car makers who received support (in the form of direct aid and loan guarantees) must invest in new green technology to lower emissions both at the manufacturing stage and the driving stage.
This has certainly been accomplished, with a recently refurbished apprentice engineering facility replete with Rainwater Harvesting Tanks, Solar/Thermal Heating, Solar Water Heating, High Efficiency Lighting and Spray Foam Insulation… all improvements that add up to an estimated savings of over 275 tons of CO2 per year.
As for driving, the radical new LRX features abundant use of recyclables in its interior, innovative new Start/Stop technology, and engines featuring high fuel economy and low CO2 emissions; improvements that will certainly find their way into the rest of its line-up.
So – for now at least – the 14,500 workers who call JLR home can rest assured that money will be there come paycheck time. That, and early signs of a global economic turnaround, could save 2009 and make the entire industry stronger and leaner moving forward.
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