A manufacturing industry expert has warned that Jaguar Land Rover could close some of its plants permanently if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal.

Professor David Bailey, from Aston Business School, said he expected the luxury car marque to close its plants temporarily if the country leaves the EU in March without a deal.

But he said he feared some of these temporary shutdowns could become permanent.

His comments came in the wake of reports today that JLR was planning to announce around 5,000 jobs losses as it continues to seek out £2.5 billion in cost savings.

 

Prof Bailey told BirminghamLive: "The uncertainty over Brexit has caused a slow down on the UK economy and there has been an impact on the car market.

"If we have a deal, there will be some transition but the disruption could be managed.

"If it's no deal, that's going to be a massive blow for the car industry and JLR in particular.

"Factory lines will be closed temporarily and I am not sure if they will all re-open again.

Major job losses are set to be announced by Jaguar Land Rover
Major job losses are set to be announced by Jaguar Land Rover

"Chief executive Ralf Speth said as much last year, stating he didn't know if they would be able to operate, while BWM is already planning for a factory shut down in Oxford.

"I worry for JLR as they are just not as big a company as other car makers and am concerned about the Jaguar plant in Castle Bromwich.

"It's a small plant and does not have the economies of scale as some of the others and it makes the XE and XF which are not selling well."

JLR is expected to announce around 5,000 job losses today with Mr Speth due to carry out a conference call with media this afternoon.

 

Details are still sketchy so it is not known as this stage if any jobs will come from the West Midlands.

However, with several huge manufacturing operations in Coventry, Solihull, Birmingham and Wolverhampton, the region is unlikely to escape the cull altogether.

Prof Bailey added: "This latest news is not a surprise as JLR has been hit by three big shocks.

"The uncertainty over Brexit, the shift away from diesel and the slow down in China where car sales have fallen for the first time in 20 years.

"That would be difficult for any firm to deal with, let alone JLR as it's a lot smaller than its rivals so it's the first to catch a cold.

"It's also been playing catch up in some of investments in technology although it did well to get the I-Pace ahead of its rivals.

"JLR is under big pressure to transform the company."