* Hit by “severe” fall in car demand
* Managers will not receive bonuses in 2009
* Not expecting market to return to normal for some time
* UK govt “disappointed” by cuts, but stays silent on help (Adds comment from Jaguar & UK government, background)
By Philip Waller
LONDON, Jan 14 (Reuters) - British luxury car maker Jaguar Land Rover announced 450 job losses on Wednesday because of a “severe” fall in demand and renewed demands for government help to weather the economic downturn.
The company, part of India's Tata Motors TAMO.BO, said it planned to shed about 15 percent of its managers -- some 300 posts - and a further 150 salaried agency staff from its global workforce of about 15,000 people.
Managers at the group will not receive bonuses in 2009 and management pay increases have been deferred to Oct. 1 2009 at the earliest, the group said.
The cuts are the latest by the group, which reduced headcount late last year by seeking some 500 voluntary redundancies and cutting agency support staff by about 850.
Chief Executive David Smith said the cuts were a response to “the unavoidable impact of the credit crunch and a severe reduction in demand”.
“We don’t expect sales conditions to return to normal levels for some time,” he said.
The company wants the government to provide loans or loan guarantees to help it to secure funding from banks.
“Overall, the global auto market is considerably down, particularly in markets like the United States and the UK, and it’s basically because customers cannot raise credit to buy new cars,” a Jaguar Land Rover spokesman said.
The government said the job cuts were disappointing but remained silent on the issue of support for the industry.
Tata bought Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford in June last year for about $2.3 billion. The company has four sites in the West Midlands region and one at Halewood on in north west England.