Words: Enda Mullen, Birmingham Post Photography: Matt Howell, Octane magazine
More than 1100 new jobs are to be created at Jaguar as the car-maker gears up for its biggest expansion programme yet. The new jobs are to support an ambitious product offensive by Jaguar Land Rover after the firm pledged to produce 40 new models over the next five years.
The announcement comes after Jaguar workers backed a crucial blueprint in favour of new workplace efficiencies, including some compulsory Saturday working. A host of new Jaguars are set to be built in Birmingham, the first being Jaguar XF Sportbrake, which goes into production later this year.
The Sportbrake will the first Jaguar estate car since the X-Type, which remains the only estate car the company has yet produced. It was built at the firm’s Halewood plant between 2004 and 2009. Unveiled earlier this year, the Sportbrake has been hailed as a serious challenger to premium estates built by German rivals Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Other models set to be produced at Castle Bromwich are the revised 2013 model year XF and XJ ranges featuring new engines and transmissions. Dr Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover CEO, said: ‘Innovation in design, engineering and technology is at the core of our business and for the UK, this means we will continue to invest in new products, develop new technologies and enhance the skills of our employees. The launch of our latest Jaguar models, including the new XF Sportbrake later this year, means it is a very exciting time for Jaguar. These new models will attract new customers to the brand as we look to expand our global reach and further enhance our position in the market.’
JLR added that the launch of the new models would also support thousands of jobs in the UK supply chain. Jaguar has seen its sales soar to more than 29,000 vehicles in the first six months of 2012, a 19 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2011.
Welcoming the new jobs, Des Thurlby, HR director at JLR said: ‘We have embarked on the most ambitious recruitment campaign in the company’s history, hiring 8,000 people in the last two years. We provide high quality training and development for all of our employees so this latest announcement for 1100 jobs is great news for the West Midlands and the UK supply chain.’
[Source: Birmingham Post]