The FINANCIAL — Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has signed a letter of intent with the Government of the Slovak Republic for the potential development of a new manufacturing plant in the city of Nitra in western Slovakia. With its established premium automotive industry, Slovakia is an attractive possible development opportunity.
The move marks the next step in the company’s strategy to become a more competitive global business by expanding its manufacturing operations into new international locations in the future.
The UK is the cornerstone of JLR’s business. It remains at the centre of JLR’s design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities. Over the past five years, JLR has employed more than 20,000 people taking its workforce to more than 36,000 and invested more than £11 billion in new product creation and capital expenditure, according to Tata Motors.
During this time, the company has invested heavily in its UK vehicle manufacturing facilities at Castle Bromwich, Halewood and Solihull to support the introduction of all-new vehicles such as the Jaguar XE, Jaguar F-Pace, Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport. JLR has also invested more than £500 million in a new Engine Manufacturing Centre in the UK, creating 1,400 new jobs in the Midlands. In addition, it plans to expand its advanced engineering and design centre at Whitley, Coventry and invest in the National Automotive Innovation Centre at the University of Warwick. JLR’s sustained investment supports the delivery of the UK’s wider industrial strategy.
Dr Ralf Speth, chief executive officer, JLR, said, “The expansion of our business globally is essential to support its long-term, resilient growth. As well as creating additional capacity, it allows us to invest in the development of more new vehicles and technologies, which supports jobs in the UK.
“With its established premium automotive industry, Slovakia is an attractive potential development opportunity for us. The new factory will complement our existing facilities in the UK, China, India and the one under construction in Brazil.”
The feasibility study underway with the Slovakian government will explore plans for a factory with an installed capacity of up to 300,000 vehicles over the next decade. As part of JLR’s commitment to deliver more lightweight vehicles, the plant would manufacture a range of aluminium Jaguar Land Rover vehicles. It is anticipated that the first cars will come off the production line in 2018.
Following robust analysis of a number of locations including Europe, the United States and Mexico, Jaguar Land Rover has selected Slovakia as its preferred location. It is close to a strong supply chain and good logistics infrastructure. Subject to the outcome of the feasibility study, a final decision is expected later this year.
Robert Fico, Prime Minister of Slovakia said, “The Slovakian Government is delighted to be selected as Jaguar Land Rover’s preferred location for this feasibility study.
We are committed to developing Slovakia’s premium automotive industry and, should we be successful, this investment would represent a significant step forward in achieving this. It would provide a boost to our country’s wider industrial strategy as well as benefitting the European Union as a whole.
We look forward to working closely with Jaguar Land Rover over the coming months to progress the negotiations.”
Jaguar Land Rover has made significant progress in building its international manufacturing presence over the last year. It opened a new joint venture in China and commenced construction of its local manufacturing plant in Brazil at the end of 2014. The creation of new international plants allows Jaguar Land Rover to increase its presence in regions that have been identified as having growth potential, protect against currency fluctuations and achieve a more efficient, globally competitive business.