Page last updated at 16:42 GMT, Monday, 25 January 2010

Jaguar Land Rover boss to depart

Jaguar emblem
The firm is trying to secure a new pay and pension deal with unions

The chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover, David Smith, is to stand down, the carmaker has confirmed.

The firm said his departure was not linked to the recent breakdown of talks with unions over pay and pensions.

Jaguar Land Rover, part of India's Tata Motors, is seeking to reduce wages and pension provision for new staff.

BBC business editor Robert Peston said Mr Smith's departure would "raise concerns about possible disagreements over strategy".

Jaguar Land Rover said director Ravi Kant would now assist with the handover of Mr Smith's duties, and assume the day to day responsibilities of the chief executive role until a permanent successor was announced.

The company thanked Mr Smith "for his efforts in the role and for his service to Jaguar and Land Rover over many years".

Tata Motors bought Jaguar Land Rover from US group Ford in 2008 for $2.3bn (£1.4bn).

Proposed changes

Talks between Jaguar Land Rover bosses and unions broke down last week after six days of discussions.

Land Rover Discovery 4
Jaguar Land Rover's global sales improved last month

The talks centred on proposed changes to pay and pensions that the firm announced in September as part of its strategic review.

Jaguar Land Rover has offered to guarantee that 8,000 full-time staff will be kept on until 2015 in return for cuts to new starters' salaries and pensions.

The firm wants to trim the wages of new employees by 20%, and close its final salary pension scheme to new members.

Plant closure

Jaguar Land Rover is continuing with efforts to reduce costs after it saw its sales fall by more than a quarter last year.

Sales across the firm's two brands declined by 26% in 2009.

Those at Jaguar were down 33%, while those of Land Rover - including Range Rover - were 23% lower.

However, sales recovered in December, with Land Rover adding 45% from a year earlier, and Jaguar's rising 5%.

In September, Jaguar Land Rover announced that it planned to cut one of its two factories in the West Midlands - either Castle Bromwich in Birmingham, or Solihull - by 2014.

It also has a manufacturing facility in Halewood on Merseyside.

In October, Jaguar Land Rover announced that it had secured a £175m loan from the State Bank of India.

The UK government had offered support, but Tata Motors said the terms were too "onerous".

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