UNION leaders said they see no threat to jobs at Jaguar Land Rover’s (JLR) Halewood plant after the official go-ahead for a £1.8bn joint venture car factory in China.
The link-up with Chinese car maker Chery could see up to 130,000 cars being made at the Changshu plant, 100 miles west of Shanghai, by 2014 – rising to 250,000 a year by 2020.
Halewood’s top selling Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Freelander2 models are among the favourites to be built to feed China’s voracious appetite for Western luxury cars.
But Roger Maddison, chief automotive industry negotiator for Unite the Union, said the tie-up presents no short-term threat to Halewood’s 4,500-strong workforce and could even help double world car sales.
He told The Post: “I don’t think it is a threat – I think it is an enormous market. China could double car sales for the whole of the world.”
He added: “We take nothing for granted and will keep monitoring the situation, but I don’t see it as a threat to the UK in the short term.”
China is the Evoque’s biggest export market and it is believed the ‘baby’ Range Rover and the Freelander2 could be the most popular sale for JLR as well as a sub-brand of SUV (sport utility vehicle) to be spun off the Freelander platform that would carry its own branding.