Tata Motors-owned luxury car maker Jaguar Land Rover will invest 600 million pounds in the UK as part of its expansion plans, including doubling the size of its operations at its headquarters in Coventry.
The funds will be pumped into its R&D and manufacturing divisions across three JLR sites in the West Midlands region of England Castle Bromwich Advanced Manufacturing Plant; Whitley Advanced Design and Development Centre; and the National Automotive Innovation Centre in Coventry.
The largest single investment has been made at the company’s Castle Bromwich plant, where over 400 million pounds will go into new and upgraded facilities to support the introduction of the all-new Jaguar XF model.
“This investment, made here in the heartland of our UK business operations, signals the confidence we have in this region to support the creation, engineering and manufacturing of ultra-low emission, premium British products, today and in the future,” said JLR CEO Ralf Speth.
Tata Group Emeritus Chairman, Ratan Tata, who was responsible for acquiring the struggling brands from Ford back in 2008, had recently told PTI: “I am very proud and very appreciative of the leadership Ralf Speth has provided and the spirit of the workforce, who worked shoulder to shoulder to bring these two venerable brands back to their original glory…The future is quite bright.”
The latest expansion plans include a doubling in size of the company’s operations at its headquarters in Coventry.
JLR, which was bought by India’s Tata Motors for USD 2.3 billion from Ford in 2008 at the height of the global financial crisis, said land bought in Whitley meant it could expand its base from 55 to nearly 120 acres.
It said the new investment was aimed at supporting the company’s creation of high tech and ultra-low emission vehicles.
Among the most notable investments at the Castle Bromwich site, is a 320-million pound state-of-the art aluminium body shop which completes the site’s transformation into a global centre of excellence for lightweight vehicle manufacturing.
“This is the largest single investment in the history of the Castle Bromwich site and highlights a remarkable turnaround in the fortunes of the company’s West Midlands manufacturing operations which were earmarked for consolidation during the height of the global economic downturn,” the company said in a statement.
Around 16 million pounds has been spent on a new blanker line which will allow the plant to turn coils of aluminium into “blank sheets” that will be pressed into body panels and parts on a new Aida 50-million pound press line which is currently under construction.
This line will feed in to the new body shop, the most flexible and versatile of its kind throughout Jaguar Land Rover, capable of switching between Jaguar’s entire range of models mid-production.
A further 30 million pounds has been invested in significantly upgrading the trim and final assembly hall.
The firm had already announced an investment of 150 million pounds National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC) which will open in 2017, providing a state-of-the-art technology hub for Jaguar Land Rover’s advanced research team and collaborative partners from the supply chain and academia.
In the past five years, under the Tata Group’s ownership, JLR has tripled its turnover and more than doubled its sales and its workforce.
It is now one of the UK’s largest exporters with a headcount that has more than doubled to almost 34,000 globally.