JLR begins Brexit-linked UK plant shutdowns

LONDON: Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) shuts its UK plants on Monday for five days over Brexit, adding to other shutdowns to leave at least half the country’s car production off-line in what could be a pivotal week for Britain’s divorce from the EU. The move by Britain’s biggest carmaker, to prepare for any disruption resulting from Brexit, was taken a few months ago at a time when the departure date —since extended to April 12 — was March 29. Automotive firms face a number of possible risks under a disorderly Brexit, including delays to the supply of ports and finished models, new customs bureaucracy, the need to recertify models and an up to 10 per cent tariff on finished vehicles.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s efforts to obtain a longer extension have also ruined contingency plans for some of them. Shutdowns are generally organised far in advance so employee holidays can be scheduled and suppliers can adjust volumes, making them hard to move. With Britain’s political leaders still deadlocked over Brexit and some EU states questioning a further departure delay, culture minister Jeremy Wright said May would continue talks with the opposition Labour Party to try to find a compromise solution. BMW’s UK Mini and Rolls-Royce plants are also shuttered this week, as is Peugeot’s Vauxhall factory, which brought forward summer shutdowns to April. — Reuters