GKN has announced plans to close a car parts factory in Birmingham, putting over 500 jobs at risk.
The company has owned the site since the 1960s and the news of the closure comes following figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showing car production last year to be the lowest level since 1984.
“These figures, the worst in a generation, reflect the devastating impact of the pandemic… The industry faces 2021 with more optimism, however, with a vaccine being rolled out and clarity on how we trade with Europe, which remains by far our biggest market,” said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT.
GKN has blamed the closure on the “increasingly competitive” global market. The factory in Birmingham produces components to Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover.
A spokesman from the group said: “Proposing this closure is a difficult decision which has been made despite significant effort and investment over the past 10 years to reduce the high operating costs at the Birmingham assembly site. Sadly, an increasingly competitive global market means that the site is no longer viable.”
Unite, the trade union, has said the factory is expected to close in 18 months. “The workforce have been left shocked and angry to learn that management is looking to close this highly viable site,” said Des Quinn, the national officer.
“Unite is now seeking urgent meetings with senior management at GKN to understand the business case and the logic behind this decision,” he added.
GKN was bought by turnaround specialist Melrose in an £8bn takeover in 2018.