Tens of thousands of jobs are threatened by the sale of iconic British car makers Jaguar and Land Rover, business secretary John Hutton has admitted.
Indian firm Mahindra and Mahindra was today reported to have joined the bidding for the struggling brands, put on sale by parent company Ford.
Concerns have been raised that many jobs supplying parts to Jaguar and Land Rover will be outsourced by their new owner.
Hutton told MPs at a Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Committee hearing in Parliament that this was a very real possibility.
“Ford cannot guarantee the supply chain of jobs,” he said. “In the future, people will look to supply source components from reliable, low-cost countries.
“But we have done some work with Ford on this and I think the prospects for Jaguar and Land Rover are encouraging.”
Hutton dismissed MPs’ suggestions that by buying more British cars itself, the government could aid such companies. He said the government brought foreign-built hybrid cars to reduce its carbon emissions. However, Hutton said he drove a Jaguar himself, and that its new range “looked beautiful”.
Other companies rumoured to be interested in buying Jaguar and Land Rover include Indian firm Tata as well as One Equity, led by former Ford chief executive Jacques Nasser.