Plans to close a Jaguar Land Rover factory in the West Midlands could be reversed according to industry sources.
Both the Land Rover factory at Solihull and the Jaguar plant at Castle Bromwich could yet survive the axe by owners Tata following another rethink by bosses, it has been revealed.
Thousands of workers were stunned last September when Tata announced that either Lode Lane or Castle Bromwich was to close, with an announcement due by midsummer.
But the new regime at JLR, led by Tata Motors supremo Carl-Peter Forster and new Jaguar Land Rover boss Ralf Speth, are understood to have ordered another strategy review which now includes the option of keeping both sites open.
Unions fiercely opposed any moves to close Solihull or Castle Bromwich, claiming compulsory job losses were inevitable and shunning internal discussions on the closure plan.
But a source close to senior management at JLR said: “One of the options now is not to close either of them.
“There is a new strategy now being developed – it is a completely new ball game. It has now gone back from ‘there will be a plant closure.’ They are looking at it again.”
The source said new model ranges for Land Rover and Jaguar could safeguard the futures of both Lode Lane and Castle Bromwich. “That is now a very real possibility.”
It is understood that a new review of JLR is currently under way following the appointments of Mumbai-based Carl-Peter Forster as Group Chief Executive Officer of Tata Motors and Ralf Speth as new JLR Chief Executive, based at Gaydon.
The closure plan was announced under the previous regime with David Smith at the helm of JLR, but Mr Smith was replaced at the top in a boardroom switch in January.
JLR has enjoyed a big sales recovery in recent months, clocking up a 60 per cent sales increase in February alone.
The group also announced a £38.7 million profit for the final quarter of 2009 after years of struggling in the red.
A JLR spokesman said: “We said back in September we would go through a process and make a decision in the middle of the year.
“As you would expect our new CEOs are studying our business and looking at our plans closely.”
He added nothing had been changed from the Business Plan announced in September.