JAGUAR Land Rover (JLR) has stayed tight-lipped over reports it is in secret talks with the Government to try to secure a £1 billion bail-out to safeguard its future.
Around the world, the market for its luxury cars has fallen 25 per cent and industry experts believe sales figures could plunge further.
JLR has already cut shifts and production days at its Solihull, Castle Bromwich and Halewood plants and over the past month there have been 600 voluntary redundancies.
According to weekend reports, JLR has requested an emergency £1 billion loan to help it ride out the sharp downturn in the global car market, which has already pushed some big car manufacturers to the edge of bankruptcy.
The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, was said to be studying the request and a decision could be made within a fortnight.
At the same time, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which represents the interests of of the wider British industry, is thought to want £2-3 billion of state aid.
JLR, which employs 15,000 workers in the UK, was bought last March for £1.15 billion by the Indian conglomerate, Tata, from Ford.
Although the new Jaguar XF has been a success, particularly in America, Land Rover sales dropped by more than half in October compared with the same month in 2007.
Claire Tallis, press officer for JLR, said yesterday: "Jaguar Land Rover supports the UK (SMMT) and the European (ACEA) industry position that government intervention is required to improve liquidity in the supply chain and support continued investment in carbon reduction technology as well as stimulating consumer demand. The French, Germans, Americans, Australians and Chinese are all considering industry support packages.
"The automotive industry is facing unprecedented trading conditions as a direct fall-out of the banking crisis and turbulence in financial markets and we are of course keeping government appraised of the impact on our business. We are not going to comment on speculation on the content of confidential discussisons with government."