Japanese car maker Toyota has sparked fears of hundreds of job losses at its UK factories after it went into the red for the first time in decades.
The automotive giant revealed it will make losses of more than £1bn this year – its first annual deficit for 71 years. It admitted yesterday that with further economic uncertainty set for 2009, redundancies may be necessary for some of its 4,000 staff at the manufacturing plant in Derbyshire, and 600 at its engine factory in Wales.
The Times reported that 800 jobs at Toyota could go, accounting for 15% of its workforce.
So far, Toyota has made no cuts to permanent staff, but a spokeswoman refused to rule out redundancies. She told the newspaper: “The times are changing so fast that it’s difficult to predict what will happen even in the next two months.”
The news comes as Tata, the Indian owners of Jaguar Land Rover, pumped millions of pounds into the struggling British car-maker to allow ministers enough time to consider whether a government bail-out is necessary.
Jaguar Land Rover employs 15,000 people in the UK, with tens of thousands more jobs involved in the supply chain. It has been reported that job numbers will inevitably shrink as the company looks to make efficiency savings.
Toyota put its losses down to a fall in sales, the financial crisis, and a surge in the value of the yen. Just 12 months ago, the company made a record operating profit of £17bn.