The case for government assistance for Jaguar Land Rover is made even more compelling today with the news that its new car sales figures will be significantly better than expected.
This gives lie to those eager to portray JLR as a basket case manufacturer whose plea for government aid is the last desperate act of a firm that has no future and no prospects.
Far from it.
A brilliantly engineered new model – the XF – helped Jaguar achieve a sales INCREASE last year of ten per cent while Land Rover figures – at minus18 per cent – were still significantly better than those expected for a 4x4 marque in the current climate. There is no doubt that JLR has the right structure, the right management, the right workforce and the right vision for the future to ensure it remains a key player in the global car market.
All it lacks are the necessary credit facilities that are the daily diet of such large businesses.
It’s this credit that will allow JLR to maintain its focus on the development of cutting-edge, sustainable manufacturing technologies. It’s this credit that helps JLR keep its supply chain moving – and in turn stimulating the wider economy.
The campaign this newspaper launched with sister papers across the UK this week has one simple message for the government: act now for JLR, the UK auto industry, and the whole economy. The cost of inaction is far too high a price to pay. Once this major part of our manufacturing base is gone, it can’t simply be resuscitated when the recession is over.
By that time, other manufacturers (who have, by the way, been supported by their governments) will have ensured there is no room left in the global market for a severely-disabled Jaguar Land Rover – or any other UK-based manufacturer for that matter.