Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos set to make Land Rover Defender a rival in France

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Sir Jim’s company said talks were sparked by Covid-19, with competing carmakers being forced to cut sales following a sales slump. The German automotive business put Hambach on sale at the end of June.Ineos is confident that final terms will be agreed for the factory, which has an experienced workforce. A sale will depend on discussions with the unions representing the workers.

In another blow to the UK auto industry, BMW said it was cutting 10% of the 4,000 workers at its Oxford Mini factory.

The Cowley Road site will lose 400 of the agency’s 950 employees employed by Gi Group as it goes from a working model of three shifts per day to two in October.

This change will reduce daily production at the plant by up to one-fifth from current levels of around 1,000 cars. Last year the factory built 222,340 Minis, accounting for the vast majority of the brand’s overall production.

Lower production levels will also hit other British BMW sites that supply engines and parts to the Oxford plant, as well as other plants around the world run by the German company.

Around 100 jobs will be cut from 1,200 employees at Hams Hall’s engine plant near Birmingham, as well as 20 agency jobs at its Swindon baling plant which employs a total of 600 people.

Bob Shankly, director of human resources at the Oxford plant, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a substantial impact on customer demand and our volume forecast for 2020 must have changed accordingly.

“So we made the difficult decision to adjust our working models at the MINI plant in Oxford from October. This will give us the flexibility we need to adapt our production in the short and medium term, according to the evolution of world markets. ”

It has also emerged that Jaguar Land Rover will move production of its V8 petrol engine, which is currently outsourced to Ford.

Ford produced the engine – used in the Jaguar F-Types and Range Rover – at a Bridgend plant scheduled to shut down in September.

Work will be transferred to JLR’s engine plant in Wolverhampton, with production halted early next year with company staff.

Ford employees increased production of the engine to build up stock for JLR until the company could resume in-house construction.

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