Rover to take on 1,450 workers

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The Independent Online
ROVER Group is to invest pounds 1.5bn over the next five years, creating 1,450 jobs in the West Midlands and at Swindon. The company, which was bought earlier this year by BMW in a controversial pounds 800m deal, said it would be recruiting between now and next spring to meet rising demand for its vehicles and to work on future models.

At the British International Motor Show in Birmingham, John Towers, Rover Group's chief executive, said: 'These new jobs are the result of Rover's continuing success in raising sales of Rover cars and Land Rover vehicles throughout the world, over the last 18 months.' He added that 1995 would see further production developments and an expansion into new and developing markets, underpinned by record levels of investment in both people and manufacturing facilities.

About 1,000 of the new jobs will be at the Longbridge plant near Birmingham, in vehicle assembly and engine production. The Land Rover plant in Solihull will take on 300 people to boost production of the new generation Range Rover which was launched last month.

The other jobs will be at the body and pressings plant in Swindon. Rover said that all the new employees would be recruited from previous applicants.

A Transport and General Workers' Union spokesman said: 'We welcome this excellent news for jobs. It reflects the enormous efforts made by the existing workforce to improve Rover's productivity and prospects.'

Rover's production in the first nine months of this year rose by 16 per cent to 355,900 vehicles. Sales in the year so far are up by 12 per cent to 364,000 vehicles worldwide. Sales rose by 3 per cent in Britain and in Germany by almost 14 per cent to 204,831. Rover has increased new car sales in western Europe as a whole by almost 24 per cent this year against the background of a sluggish market on the Continent. The group has also been increasing its penetration in markets such as Hong Kong and Singapore.

Two weeks ago, the company agreed a two-year 10.7 per cent pay rise for its workforce in a landmark deal that abolished demarcations between white and blue collar workers.

BMW commitment, page 28 (Photograph omitted)