FRANKFURT - Jaguar will cut production by some 15,000 units over the rest of 2004 amid slack demand, a Jaguar spokesman said on Friday.
"Jaguar is to reduce production volume at its three plants in the UK ... by a total of some 15,000 units through the remainder of 2004," the spokesman said, but would not say to what level the production would slip.
Industry analysts said production would be cut to around 120,000 units.
"This is a prudent move that will enable us to balance out our stocks, particularly in the U.S. market, where our performance has been adversely impacted by exchange rates and the increasingly competitive environment among luxury brands," the spokesman said.
Jaguar is part of Ford Motor Co's stable of luxury brands known as the Premier Automotive Group (PAG).
The automaker gave no news on reducing manufacturing capacity at Jaguar's three British plants, but the Transport and General Workers' Union, the largest union at Jaguar, said the company had assured it that the production cut would not cost any jobs.
Jaguar makes cars at Browns Lane in Coventry, Halewood in Merseyside, and Castle Bromwich in Birmingham.
"It is a tragedy that Jaguar (is) having to cut production at (its) most efficient plants in the Ford group. The U.S. market accounts for nearly half of all UK Jaguar sales, so the exchange rate is having a big impact on the Jaguar business," said Dave Osborne, the union's national secretary for the car industry,
"The company (has) said there will be no job losses as a result and will move to a four-day week to facilitate the cuts they need to make," he added in a statement, noting Jaguar might extend holiday periods in 2004.
Ford President Nick Scheele told Reuters last week that no firm decision had been made about slashing the output at Jaguar, which he said had too much capacity for the number of cars sold.
Jaguar's U.S. sales plunged nearly 25 percent in July and are down about 7 percent so far this year.
Its disappointing performance is weighing on overall results at PAG, which also includes the Land Rover, Aston Martin and Volvo brands. Ford CFO Don Leclair said last month that the parent company was working to turn Jaguar around.
Ford's luxury car business is key to its goal of booking $7 billion in annual pretax profits by 2006. PAG and Ford's Lincoln brand are supposed to account for a third of that profit.
But PAG sank into a pretax loss of $362 million in the second quarter from a profit of $166 million a year earlier, hit by the strong euro, model changeovers and higher operating costs.