Jaguar Land Rover have made company history by officially expanding their global operations into the China market, giving unprecedented access to Asian car markets, with their first vehicles rolling off the production line in China as part of its joint venture with Chery. The news comes two years after the Chinese authorities granted permission for the Changsu-based factory, located in Jiangshu Province.
Capable of producing as many as 130,000 vehicles annually, the manufacturing capacity of this factory is key to realising Jaguar Land Rover’s ambition for annual global production in excess of 600,000 vehicles.
While the Chinese factory has already produced a number of Range Rover Evoques, Jaguar Land Rover postponed celebrations to coincide with the anniversary of ‘breaking ground’.
Jaguar Land Rover chief executive Dr. Ralf Speth, stated earlier this year that it was likely the first vehicles produced at the factory would be ready by Q4 2014 and available to the Chinese vehicle market as early as 2015. The official launch demonstrates that this deadline has been achieved. The company is now aiming to get the new vehicle into factories as soon as possible to meet the expected demand for the 4×4.
It is thought that Chinese buyers will be just as enthusiastic about a domestically produced version of the Evoque as they are for imports, with the added bonus (for both producers and consumers) that the domestically manufactured vehicle will not be subject to the significant import duties applied to UK-produced vehicles.
This official event also confirms that Jaguar Land Rover are a serious competitor in the Chinese market, offering the “real deal” in comparison to its rivals copy-cat designs.
Meanwhile, production and innovation continues apace for Jaguar Land Rover back in Liverpool where manufacturing of the new Discovery Sport has been officially launched, with the imminent release of the new Jaguar XE sports saloon in Solihull in the coming months.
Later in October, Jaguar Land Rover will also start full scale production of the new £500million engine plant at the Wolverhampton-based i54 site.
Amidst these developmental expansions, there have also been rumours that the company’s Tata subsidiary may be considering its own production operation in the US. Media claims suggest that talks are already underway in numerous locations across several states as potential locations for this new operation.
While Jaguar Land Rover have dismissed the rumour as mere speculation, such a move would be key to meeting global production capacity goals to reach the watermark million-vehicle-a-year target.
Such a move would go hand in hand with the assembly of UK produced pre-manufactured car kits in India and the development of a new plant in Brazil, as well as Jaguar Land Rover’s letter of intent with authorities in Saudi Arabia regarding the establishment of a manufacturing facility in the Middle East.
Words: Peter Cribley