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Jaguar Land Rover to lay off a third of India workforce

The news comes as a ‘shocker’ to employees of the Tata-owned company.

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NEW DELHI: Tata Group-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is undertaking its biggest ever retrenchment drive in its India operations, slashing its workforce by nearly a third, according to a report by Business Today.

The layoffs, which have already started and are expected to continue through this month, are part of its global strategy to shed about 2,000 non-manufacturing jobs by next fiscal, reported two weeks ago. JLR had also reduced its global headcount by 1,000 in 2018 and another 4,500 in 2019. These are part of its ongoing restructuring drive Project Charge+ through which it aims to save about £2.5 billion.

The news of restructuring was a "shocker" to the automaker's India workforce, who believed that they would be spared due to the small market JLR has in the country, Business Today quoted a source as saying. Moreover, there was a false sense of complacency that because JLR's parent firm Tata Motors is an Indian entity, it would not touch its Indian employees.

JLR issued a statement clarifying that the layoffs were being undertaken to increase efficiency in a bid to find the right cost structure for its workforce. It did mention the number of employees being retrenched, details of the severance package being offered to them, or whether the salaries of the top management have been slashed.

JLR is considered a straggler in the Indian luxury car market, which itself has not grown by much in the last five years. The British brands saw their sales decline by 74 per cent in 2020 and a loss of market share of 10.62 percentage points. In comparison, the biggest in the business - Mercedes Benz - saw a 43 per cent decline, BMW by 32 per cent and Audi by 63 per cent.

Last month, JLR's global CEO Thierry Bollore, who took over the reins of the company only last September, said the Jaguar brand would move away from its iconic high-performance internal combustion engines entirely and produce only electric vehicles by 2025, while Land Rover will have its first fully electric SUV by 2024.

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