Jobs at risk as JLR confirms Discovery switch to Slovakia

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Britain's biggest auto maker says production will move from Solihull to Slovakia in eastern Europe early next year.

"The decision to move the Land Rover Discovery to Slovakia and the potential losses of some agency employed staff in the United Kingdom is a tough one but forms part of our long-term manufacturing strategy as we transform our business globally".

Jaguar Land Rover first announced its intention to begin production of the Discovery in Slovakia in 2016, but did not mention at the time that the process could involve the migration of the model's entire UK-based production line. Discovery production will be moved from the beginning of 2019, meaning job cuts at the Solihull plant are possible before it ramps up staffing again, the people said.

The vehicle maker also said it would invest millions in a revamp of its Solihull factory, where the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models will be built.

"The potential losses of some agency employed staff in the United Kingdom is a tough one but forms part of our long-term manufacturing strategy as we transform our business globally", JLR said in a statement.

In total, 33,774 Land Rover cars were sold during the period while 14,507 Jaguars were bought.

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There were no place changes in the top 10, although Daniel Ricciardo lost his fastest lap to Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen. Formula 1 rules state that if the checkered flag is waved too early, the race is over as of the last completed lap.

Alongside the Slovakia announcement, Jaguar said it will invest millions in a revamp of Solihull, where the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models will be built. JLR also builds the SUV in Changshu, China. The manufacturer will build the next of its Range Rover Evoque models at a site in Halewood in northern England, where the Discovery Sport is also made.

The company said retail sales were up 24 per cent in overseas markets, 20.9 per cent in the United Kingdom and 16.7 per cent in North America.

The opening of the Nitra plant was originally meant to take pressure off JLR's United Kingdom factories, since the Solihull plant now handles all Discovery production.

Profits at the auto maker were nearly cut in half in the fourth quarter as it was stung by a combination of falling diesel sales, Brexit uncertainty and vehicle taxation.

The slump came as demand for diesel vehicles dropped, while the auto maker also blamed uncertainty over Brexit and vehicle taxation.

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