News : Jaguar Land Rover pins hopes on electrification

Jaguar Land Rover has unveiled the next phase in a major restructuring of the model line-up and manufacturing set-up, called Charge and Accelerate. The UK’s largest carmaker’s ambition is to transform itself from a company heavily dependent on diesel sales in Europe – confirming that all new models from 2020 will be electrified – either with Mild Hybrid (MHEV) integration, PHEV or BEV.

The company’s CEO Ralf Speth says that plans for heavy investment in electrification and further dissemination of production globally will ensure the long-term survival for Britain’s largest carmaker. Jaguar Land Rover’s recent announcement that it intends to reduce its global workforce by around 4500 people made international headlines last week – a number made worse because it’s in addition to the 1500 people who left the business in 2018.

However, Speth adds: ‘We are taking decisive action to help deliver long-term growth, in the face of multiple geopolitical and regulatory disruptions as well as technology challenges facing the automotive industry. The Charge and Accelerate programme combines efficiency measures with targeted investment, safeguarding our future and ensuring that we maximise the opportunities created by growing demand for Autonomous, Connected, Electric and Shared technologies.’

The first signs of this transformation of the business will be additional investment into electrification with Electric Drive Units to be produced at the Wolverhampton Engine Manufacturing Centre and a new Battery Assembly Centre to be established at Hams Hall, near Birmingham.

Sliding sales lead to reinvention

Group sales of Jaguar and Land Rover fell by 4.6% in 2018 over 2017, while demand in China fell by more than 20% as local buyers tighten their belts due to mounting trade uncertainties. To counter the reliance on diesel in a market rapidly turning away from this fuel, JLR intends to accelerate its BEV, MHEV and PHEV programmes. From 2020, all new Jaguar Land Rover vehicles will be electrified, and the recently-launched Range Rover Evoque will only be offered with one model that isn’t electrified in some way.

With a model programme that should see the entire range renewed by 2024, the big questions are how much of it will be electrified and how rapidly. Although the I-Pace beat rivals from Audi and Mercedes-Benz to the market, the German marques’ follow-ups are coming thick and fast. We know that the new Defender will offer PHEV and probably BEV versions, too, as will the next Jaguar XJ and F-Type, but will these models be enough to keep the company at the sharp end of the electrification race?

The company says: ‘So far, the Charge and Accelerate programme has identified over £1bn of improvements, with more than £500m already realised in 2018. The savings and improvements achieved will enable Jaguar Land Rover to fund vital investments into technology to safeguard its future.’

In the short term, Charge and Accelerate needs to deliver £2.5bn in cost reductions and cashflow improvements over 18 months as well as long-term strategic operating efficiencies in order to see this ambition through. The next phase of this programme will begin with a voluntary redundancy programme in the UK. This strategic review will create a leaner operation with a flatter management structure. The question is whether JLR is strong enough to whether the storm, given that its annual production of 600,000 makes it a minnow compared with premium market rivals.

Investment in factories – expanding expertise in electrification

Later in 2019, next-generation Electric Drive Units (EDU) will be produced at JLR’s Engine Manufacturing Centre in Wolverhampton. These EDUs will be powered by batteries assembled at a new Jaguar Land Rover Battery Assembly Centre in Hams Hall, reinforcing the company’s commitment to the West Midlands and the UK. The Battery Assembly Centre will be one of the largest of its kind in the UK, using new production techniques and technologies to manufacture battery packs for future Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles.

In 2018, JLR opened a new vehicle manufacturing plant in Nitra, Slovakia, where the Discovery will be built, and the I-Pace is built in Austria, underlining the company’s global ambitions. In addition, it made further investment into specialist engineering hubs in the Republic of Ireland, Hungary and Manchester. In the same year, Jaguar Land Rover also confirmed plans to invest in its Solihull plant to support the introduction of the next generation Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.

Prof. Dr. Speth concludes: ‘The next chapter in the story of the Jaguar and Land Rover brands will be the most exciting – and challenging – in our history. Revealing the Defender (below), investing in cleaner, smarter, more desirable cars and electrifying our facilities to manufacture a future range of British-built electric vehicles will all form part of building a globally competitive and flourishing company.’

2020 Land Rover Defender

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

15 Comments

  1. “Prof. Dr Speth continued: ‘The next chapter in the story of the Jaguar and Land Rover brands will be the most exciting – and challenging – in our history”
    In September 2016 Speth was appointed as an Honorary Professor, having previously been an Industrial Professor.

    In 2015 Special Honours list, Speth was appointed an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

    So, the German boss of a British car maker has an “honorary” British decoration, and an “honorary” professorship.

    Under Speth’s management, JLR has increased the company’s workforce significantly. “We have added more than 17,000 people in the course of the last five years,” he said in an interview published in June 2015. Speth champions the need for R&D and makes much of JLR’s investment in R&D. “I guess we are the biggest R&D investor in the UK in the automotive business,” he claims.

    Now – only years later – he is getting rid of 4,500 workers. A bit more Research might have told him not to take on those 17,000 extra staff.

    But don’t worry, the future will be both “exciting” – an essential word in any document about any work – and, of course “challenging” – the mean-anything word to describe climbing Everest or getting a seat on the London Underground. Would you buy a used car – sorry, a new car – from this man?

    As for “the next chapter” being “the most exciting – and challenging – in our history” – just what is “our history”? He was not born until 1955.

    • Ever increasing widespread foreign ownership, influence and control of former British Assets is the way to go. GO being the operative word.

    • I thinkNa close reading of Ralph Speth’s cv shows that he WAS never really a star in the BMW firmament. Left at 43 to become a consultant. We all know what that means.

      Hes rolled out alot of production capacity that they dont really need and hired alot of people through agencies, of course margins have been squeezed

  2. So annoying that it took only a few hours for our “We’re cleverer than you plebs” UK meejah to link this to our severing the parasitical umbilical cord connection to the bloodsuckers in Brussels and Mainland Europe. Here again our so called BBC [ = BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation ]. They are so clever they also failed to understand the diesels are good, petrols are bad brainwashing for so very long until all that Diesel Bovine Excrement in all its negative forms hit the fans of both VAG and UK meejah.

    Each banging that Diesels are good drum should be made to stand behind their Diesel cars during the emissions part of the UK MoT test… ideally taking deep breaths. Then, when the coughing stops and the thick black fog clears, ask themselves how the hell any ever pass the Mot. That they do though for a range of reason all now exposed.

    Spokespersons ( see what I did there PC riddled meejah )… OK it was a spokesMAN, for JLR clearly outlined that job losses were mainly due to the current range line up no longer selling so well. The range far too narrowly focused with apparently a high as 90% diesel content in that line up.

    Jaguar Land Rover have my best wishes for their rethink and revised model line up. They need to move sharpish.

    Other reasons play a part here as a car enthusiast friend was employed in the workshops of a main JLR dealership and I was surprised to hear of so many big reliability issues with those massive diesel engines.

    Still, lets all blame the OUT vote anyway.

    Good luck to JLR… they will need it. Listening to that confident Spokesperson, I suspect they will be up for the challenging task and succeed.

  3. Electric cars will only be suitable for long distance when there is an infrastructure of battery changing stations and cars are manufactured with hot-swap capability. Anything else it’s short time cruise – typically 75 to maybe 100 plus miles. If you turn on the headlights and run heat or a/c that will reduce your driving range.

    • Those we entrust to our Nation and the Environment’s well being fail miserably to appreciate the overall picture Rick. Apparently they are, like our meejah, far too clever, much more so than us plebs. Just as they did by running true to form in failing to appreciate the many harmful aspects overall picture with the Petrol Bad, Diesel Good mind blowing expert findings confidence trick they accepted with question.

      How on earth will there ever be an electric infrastructure to support the massive volume of massive trucks all needing to “just in time” deliver which now infest UK roads and motorways? These things are the massive polluters and would still be doing their harmful stuff if all private cars were banned.

      There again, it appears a very real possibility that those who know better than the rest of us will get their way having undermined the will of the majority for closing on three years since June 23rd, 2016. No severance of the parasitical UK-EU umbilical cord is now a prime alternative so those who know better, will get their way after all.

      All this concern for job losses at apparently 5000 overstaffed JLR by the meejah is still being blamed on upcoming UK-EU severance. UK meejah jobs for life luvvies determined to get it wrong so they can say “told you so”. JLR management over estimated demand for their diesel top heavy range and now the bovine excrement has hit the fan, need a complete rethink and redesign… sharpish.

      However, like Honda and other foreign controlled so called “UK Motor Industry” outfits have indicated in the past, long before any mention of an IN-OUT referendum, when it suits them, not the UK, they will shift production elsewhere or even up sticks completely. All that despite massive inducements ( taxpayer funding ) and easy access to greenfield sites often denied to UK Industrial projects. Just another short sighted quick-fix programme which in the longer term, will not benefit this Nation as a whole. Foreign ownership and control = When it suits them, not us, they WILL be gone. They have marked our cards frequently in the past. Whatever next #1 Sanctioning funds to move Transit Production from Hampshire outside the UK? That will never happen.

      Whatever next #2. A socialist Government not only turning its back on those thousands of “lazy bruvvers” and many thousands of others depending on Longbridge back in April 2005, but actively torpedoing chances of a joint partnership … That will never happen …

      I live in hope that just maybe, the UK will wake up and stop these harmful quick-fixes which act negatively and harmfully on this Nation over the longer term. On June 23rd 2016. there was a first hopeful sign as a first step in changing these harmful mindset decisions.

      Meantime as I type this, I have the 24/7/365 News Channels on my TV in the background. The cushioned against reality meejah still do not “get it”. For them, the EU is NOT broke so no need to fix it. It is not broke for those “jobs for life” types so doesn’t need fixing. It is broke for millions of the rest of us who have lost jobs, careers or worst, had them migrated outside the UK over the past forty years. Including one of mine.

      Stand by ..

  4. richardpd for PM – one of the highest paid jobs that need no professional qualifications – just the ‘people’s vote’ to get into the House of Commons, and party-line acquiescence to get to the top of the greasy pole. Except that Brussels is now the top – ask Kinnock.

  5. Staying on topic, it’s interesting that the JLR battery assembly plant will be at Hams Hall, where the BMW engine plant is also located.

    • Is its proximity to the BMW plant linked in someway to the proposed Project Jennifer engine collaboration with JLR? I know that was meant to be focused in large capacity ICEs but is this part of a wider deal?

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