BMW will retain 2,000 Longbridge workers
German luxury car maker BMW AG said on Thursday it will retain 2,000 of the 8,500 workers it employs at its UK Rover subsidiary's Longbridge plant after selling off the loss-making division. The Munich car maker said it would continue to employ 2,000 workers at its Longbridge-based Midland Powertrain Ltd subsidiary -- which manufacturers gear boxes and engines --after disposing of the ailing subsidiary. British newspapers reported earlier that the sale of Rover and its flagship Longbridge plant to venture capital firm Alchemy Partners was expected to spark up to 19,000 job losses in the West Midlands region. The papers cited a government report. A British government study spearheaded by Trade Secretary Stephen Byers warned that up to 19,000 jobs could go in the region after BMW's sale of Rover, British papers reported. But BMW, which decided last month to sell the ailing subsidiary, said it was not in a position to comment on the reports because it had not taken part in preparing the British government's employment study for the region. BMW is facing pressure to consider a rival bid prepared by a consortium headed by former Rover Chief Executive John Towers because of fears Alchemy will axe thousands of jobs by ending mass volume car production at Longbridge to build sports cars. Alchemy Partners has so far remained silent on the number of job cuts it will make if it succeeds in taking over Rover.
Article Date: Apr 20, 2000