China Watch : UK to ask China to okay a new Jaguar Land Rover plant

Automotive News China, 12th November, 2010

UK Prime Minister David Cameron was expected to press Chinese political leaders to approve a new assembly plant for Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) quickly during a trade visit to the country this week, the Financial Times reported.

JLR plans to build more than 50,000 cars a year in a new plant in China, the paper said, citing CEO Ralf Speth. The companies want an assembly plant in China to bypass high Chinese import duties that can double the price of a top-of-the-range Jaguar or Land Rover.

Luxury car sales are booming in China, which has passed the United States to become the world’s largest auto market. “The winners and losers in the world automotive industry will be determined by what happens in China,” Speth told the newspaper.

JLR has already created a facility for packing sub-assemblies into crates for shipping abroad at its Halewood factory in North West England. The project could begin immediately if the company reaches a joint-venture deal with a Chinese partner, Speth told the paper.

The automaker is negotiating with large state-controlled vehicle makers about a possible production joint venture in China. JLR wants to make the Freelander and the planned Range Rover Evoque SUVs in China, before introducing a Jaguar model.

The plant will cost more than $161 million (1.1 billion yuan) and may produce more than 150,000 cars in three years, the Financial Times said.

Ford Motor Co. sold JLR to India’s Tata Motors for $2.3 billion in 2008.

[Source: Automotive News China]

Clive Goldthorp

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