Jaguar Land Rover and Aston Martin to restart production in May

Car giant Jaguar Land Rover is to gradually resume production at two of its UK plants next month amid "robust" guidelines to support a return to work.

The move follows an announcement by luxury car-maker Aston Martin Lagonda that it will reopen its South Wales factory on May 5.

JLR said that from May 18, manufacturing will resume in Solihull, West Midlands, and at its engine plant in Wolverhampton.

The company halted all production last month due to the coronavirus pandemic and has furloughed around half its workforce, topping up their pay to 100%.

Around a quarter of the Solihull workforce will return next month. Credit: PA

Around a quarter of the Solihull workforce will return next month.

A company statement said: “In China, we are beginning to see recovery in vehicle sales and customers are returning to our showrooms. Our joint venture plant in Changshu has been in operation since the middle of February.

“As countries are relaxing distancing guidelines and retailers are reopening around the world, the restart of production at our other plants will be confirmed in due course.

“The health and wellbeing of our employees is our first priority. We are developing robust protocol and guidelines to support a safe return to work. We will adopt strict social distancing measures across our business and are currently evaluating a number of different measures to ensure we protect and reassure our workforce when they begin to return to work.

“We continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation and follow the guidance of all relevant authorities in the markets in which we operate."

Jaguar Land Rover and Aston Martin are both set to reopen factories. Credit: PA

Production is also being gradually resumed at JLR plants in Austria and Slovakia.

Aston Martin Lagonda announced that it will resume operations at its St Athan facility, following guidelines from Public Health Wales and Public Health England to protect its workforce.

It said it will take “learnings in terms of health and safety” into account when it reopens its main car plant in Gaydon, Warwickshire, at a later date.

Both sites have been closed since March 25 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The firm also announced that its senior leadership team have agreed to a reduction in pay.

The factory was officially opened for the first time in December 2019. Credit: Aston Martin/PA

Chief executive Andy Palmer is waiving 35% of his base salary. It was previously announced that he would not be paid an annual bonus for the 2019/20 financial year.

Non-executive directors are waiving 35% of their fees. Vice presidents have agreed to a 20% reduction in their base salary and other members of senior management have been asked to accept pay cuts of up to 10%.

The salary reductions will apply for a three-month period from April 1.

The company, known for making James Bond’s cars of choice, employs around 500 staff in Gaydon and 300 in St Athan and the majority of its employees have been furloughed.

Production staff are being paid as normal, but those who continue to be furloughed from May 1 will receive 80% of their base salaries from then.

Car factories across the UK are closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The pandemic has come after a dire year for Aston that left it nursing widening losses of £104.3 million in 2019.

It had already warned that sports car wholesales were expected to be “materially lower” in 2020.

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