JAGUAR Land Rover has refuted a claim there will be an extended summer shutdown after the global recession hit sales badly.
The Sunday Times reported that JLR executives were drawing up plans for longer than usual annual plant closures and staff layoffs.
But in fact, the summer shutdown at the Land Rover factory in Solihull will be restricted to two weeks - compared with the traditional three weeks - as the assembly lines gear up to produce new variants of the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Discovery.
And the closure of the Castle Bromwich plant will also be restricted to a fortnight in anticpation of producing high volumes of the new Jaguar XJ saloon, officially unveiled in London last week.
The company said the factory also needs to keep running to meet continuing demand for the successful XF mid-range car.
JLR spokesman Don Hume said there had been very strong initial interest in the XJ, with some customers trying to place orders sight unseen.
“The order book has only just opened but we are ramping up for the XJ at Castle Bromwich as well as for the new models at Solihull,” he said.
“We are also transferring 300 people from Solihull to Castle Bromwich to support XJ production.”
JLR announced losses of £281 million in the ten months to March 2009 amid tough trading conditions.
According to another newspaper report - this time in the Daily Mail - JLR’s Merseyside plant could be closed by its Indian parent company, Tata, in order to secure the future of the car maker.
It said the Halewood factory, which employs 2,000 people, would be sacrificed to save the Castle Bromwich and Solihull plants. Halewood builds the ageing Jaguar X-Type, which is being dropped, and the Land Rover Freelander.
Tata said it would not comment on “speculation”.