There has been much speculation in the media over the last few months over JLR’s plans to expand manufacturing into a new foreign market. Some suspected that the new plant would end up in the USA in order to support LR’s plans to push the new Evoque and Discovery Sport models on our shores.
This past Tuesday however, JLR announced that they have signed a letter of intent to build a new plant in Slovakia, choosing not to follow in the footsteps of other European manufacturers such as Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen and BMW.
Jaguar Land Rover has passed over possible plant locations in the US. and Mexico, and instead announced Tuesday that it has signed a letter of intent to build a new factory in Slovakia. The plant, which will be in the city of Nitra, is expected to be up and running in 2018. It will be used to manufacture both Land Rover and Jaguar vehicles using JLR’s new, state of the art all-aluminum chassis and body construction methods.
Land Rover currently produces vehicles in the UK, China, and India, and has a plant under construction in Brazil. Slovakia, according to Ralf Speth, JLR CEO, has an “established premium automotive industry,” and that the new factory will “complement our existing facilities.”
JLR, under the ownership of Indian firm Tata, continues to experience growth, having gone from 16,000 to 36,000 employees in the last five years. They have invested heavily in the UK home market, including the construction of a new engine plant that in itself created 1,400 jobs.
In passing over North America, where JLR has seen some of its most robust growth, it has bucked the trend of other luxury manufacturers such as BMW and Mercedes Benz that have successfully opened plants in North America.
JLR’s agreement with the Slovak government is contingent upon the results of a feasibility study, which according to JLR, seeks to explore the available resource and logistics chains in the proposed area of the plant, which will need to produce 300,000 units over the coming decade.
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