Jaguar Land Rover has today announced its intentions to build a new manufacturing plant in the Slovak Republic. The location has been selected to allow it to expand production of its aluminium-bodied models – including an all-new Land Rover Defender.
While JLR has committed to continued heavy investment in the UK – expanding facilities at Castle Bromwich, Halewood and Solihull for production of the Jaguar XE, F-Pace, Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport – a new Slovakian factory would allow it to boost output by 300,000 vehicles over the next decade.
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‘The expansion of our business globally is essential to support its long-term, resilient growth,’ explains Dr Ralf Speth, Chief Executive Officer at JLR. ‘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.’
Slovakia was chosen after a feasibility study that looked at locations in Europe, the United States and Mexico. The new location, in the city of Nitra in western Slovakia, was deemed ideal for its proximity to a strong supply chain and good logistics infrastructure, though a final decision will be made later this year.
Robert Fico, Prime Minister of Slovakia, calls the decision a ‘significant step forward’ in achieving the country’s commitment to developing a premium automotive industry.
The first cars are expected to roll off the line in 2018. While JLR hasn’t confirmed exactly which cars will be built in Slovakia, the company says the facility will manufacture a range of aluminium Jaguar Land Rover Vehicles.
According to an industry insider, that 2018 date means the next generation Land Rover Defender could be the first car to be produced at the plant – though with other JLR products now using aluminium, the company could expand production of other new models and facelifted vehicles, too.
This year, JLR is on track to sell over half a million vehicles. Once the new facility comes on song, and counting production at Magna Steyr, and plants in India, Brazil and a joint venture in China, JLR could be heading for one million vehicles per year.