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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 September, 2004, 17:35 GMT 18:35 UK
Solihull Land Rover jobs saved
Land Rover assembly line
The future of Land Rover production will be discussed on Wednesday
Ford has approved a plan aimed at making its Land Rover factory in Solihull more competitive, safeguarding 8,000 jobs.

The turnaround strategy was drawn up at Ford's request by Land Rover's own managers and unions.

Ford had warned that the Land Rover plant faced possible closure if the two sides did not agree on an acceptable rescue package by Wednesday.

The deal still requires the approval of union members.

A full ballot of staff unions is expected in the weeks ahead.

We would expect that Solihull, which has been the home of Land Rover for over 50 years, to remain so for the next 50 years
Dave Osborne, TGWU

Land Rover managers and union leaders welcomed Wednesday's deal.

Brighter future

"Land Rover is poised to make a major impact," Land Rover chief executive Joe Greenwood told BBC News 24.

"On the basis of today's agreement we would expect that Solihull, which has been the home of Land Rover for over 50 years, to remain so for the next 50 years," said Dave Osborne, national secretary for the car industry at the Transport and General Workers' Union.

The rescue strategy is aimed at making Land Rover as competitive as Ford's Jaguar operations within three years, and as competitive as other global car makers within five years.

Ford instructed Land Rover bosses and unions to come up with ways of improving the company's performance in May this year.

The US car giant, which bought Land Rover from BMW in 2000, was concerned that the company was lagging behind its other operations in terms of competitiveness.

The firm, which is heavily dependent on US sales, has been hit by the weak dollar, and its vehicles have performed poorly in quality surveys.

Ford had wanted Land Rover to produce a turnaround strategy by 1 September, but extended the deadline by a week after rejecting an initial rescue plan.

There had been speculation that Ford would shift Land Rover production to its Jaguar plant in Merseyside if the company failed to come up with an acceptable plan.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Jenny McCudden
"Workers will be balloted on the planned changes"



SEE ALSO:
Ford mulls Land Rover plant's fate
02 Sep 04  |  Business
Land Rover 'rescue' plan rejected
02 Sep 04  |  West Midlands
8,000 Land Rover jobs threatened
27 May 04  |  Business
Talks over future of car factory
29 Mar 04  |  West Midlands
Land Rovers recalled for checks
18 Mar 04  |  West Midlands


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