News : JLR reaffirms commitment to UK with £600m investment in West Midlands

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Jaguar Land Rover's commitment to the UK reinforced with £600m investment
Jaguar Land Rover’s commitment to the UK reinforced with £600m investment

Jaguar Land Rover has this week reaffirmed its long-term commitment to the West Midlands, with confirmation of a £600m investment in the region to support product creation and advanced vehicle manufacturing.

The largest single investment has been made at the company’s Castle Bromwich Advanced Manufacturing Plant, where over £400m has been spent in new and upgraded facilities to support the introduction of the all-new Jaguar XF – that includes a £320m state-of-the art aluminium body shop which completes the site’s transformation into a global centre of excellence for lightweight vehicle manufacturing and constitutes the largest single investment in the history of the Castle Bromwich site.

The company has also announced the completion of its purchase of an additional 62 acres adjacent to the existing Advanced Design and Engineering Centre at Whitley, Coventry – this acquisition will more than double the size of the existing 55 acre site and the expanded facility will house Product Development Engineers working on “high technology ultra-low emission vehicles.”

Jaguar Land Rover has more than doubled the size of its UK-based workforce in the past five years, in part to keep up with demand for models popular all around the world. However, Jaguar Land Rover has also invested heavily in research and development, with efforts culminating in the new Jaguar XE and XF, which use new engines and lightweight materials.

Dr. Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Design leadership, technical innovation and engineering excellence lie at the heart of this responsible business and we are committed to investing in the skills needed to continue this success into the future. Great people and great products are the essence of this great British company.”

Nick Rogers JLR's new Engineering Director Edit v3Meanwhile, the company’s Engineering Director, Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart, will stand down from that role with effect from April 2015. Nick Rogers (pictured left) will succeed Dr. Ziebart and assume board-level responsibilities for Jaguar Land Rover’s global engineering operations, reporting directly to Chief Executive Dr. Ralf Speth. Dr. Ziebart will continue to work with Jaguar Land Rover, focusing on technology development.

Commenting on the new appointment, Dr. Ralf Speth: “Dr Ziebart joined Jaguar Land Rover in July 2013 and has led the Engineering team through a period of continued growth as we have expanded our product range. I would like to thank Wolfgang for his stewardship, counsel and advice through this period and I look forward to his on-going involvement with the business.

“Nick has worked for Jaguar Land Rover for more than 30 years and has broad experience across Engineering, Manufacturing and product delivery. His experience, skills, passion and dedication to Jaguar Land Rover will make him a great leader for the Engineering team. I wish him every success in leading the teams that are creating the new Jaguar and Land Rover advanced technologies and vehicles of the future.”

Rogers, 47, joined Land Rover in 1984 and is currently Land Rover’s Global Vehicle Architecture Director but, prior to that, he was Vehicle Line Director for Range Rover and helped to develop and launch the current Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, two of JLR’s most successful vehicles.

Clive Goldthorp

Clive claims that his interest in the BMC>MG story dates back to his childhood in the 1960s when the family’s garage premises were leased to a tenant with an Austin agency. However, back in the 1920s and 1930s, his grandmother was one of the country’s first female Garage Proprietors so cars probably run in his genes! Admits to affairs with Alfa Romeos, but has more recently owned an 06/06 MG TF 135 and then a 15/64 MG3 Style… Clive, who was AROnline’s News Editor for nearly four years, stood down from that role in order to devote more time to various Motor Racing projects but still contributes articles on as regular basis as his other commitments permit.

6 Comments

  1. More good news from JLR.

    It’s hard to credit that what once were underfunded and unimaginatively managed companies, with little future ahead of them have, over a very short period of time, become forces to be reckoned with. With any luck, it won’t be very long before there will be no acceptable excuse for buying a BMW!

    It’s all the more remarkable that this has been achieved without moving all the manufacturing to the Far East and simply relying on what might otherwise have been a defunct UK brand trading on nostalgia.

    I’m watching JLR’s progress with interest and no little pride 🙂

    • Yep, the naysayers who predicted JLR’s consideration of adding production bases in the US or Turkey marked the beginning of the end for their UK operations couldn’t be more wrong – or miserably British.

  2. Very encouraging to hear this – Jaguar is riding on the crest of a wave and that was almost unbelievable a decade or two ago. I think the XF is probably the model that has been their greatest asset in recent times but now it’s the turn of the XE alongside the next XF.

    I wonder if Dr Ziebart is any relation to the Ziebart rustproofing operation from the 1970s!

  3. I can remember 35 years ago when Jaguar was dying and wealthy buyers of cars were flocking to German brands due to the terrible quality. Now Jaguar is well and truly back and expanding, which can only be good.

    The XF is a fantastic car that has moved on from Sixties nostalgia and I hope the XE really does well.

  4. It’s great to see Whitley getting investment, it did seem doomed once Ford got access to Gaydon which had just been turned into a state-of-the-art facility by BMW. The fact that both sites are needed shows the ambition JLR has.

    Whitley should have been the show piece of Chrysler Europe’s ambitions in the late 60s. Purchased from Hawker Siddley in late 60s after the Government’s decision to buy C130 instead of the STOL Jet Transport being developed at Whitley and across the A45 at Bagington saw the closure of the former AWA factories in Coventry.

    At the time Chryslers ambition was to turn Rootes Group into a competitor with Ford and GM European operations and compete with the emerging Japanese manufacturers in the global compact car market. The first design to emerge with this strategy was the Avenger – a genuine world car and a totally clean sheet design.

    However, they had properly understood UK industrial relations and the Unions “screwed” them putting the Avenger into Ryton and moving the Arrow (Hunter etc.) to Linwood. The costs were so high it simply blew the economics of the car and the whole UK operation. From then on it was a downward spiral of ageing products with ever more compromised quality as the margins were squeezed.

  5. Chrysler UK could have been a real competitor, had the Alpine been given decent engines and better rust proofing, then this otherwise very capable car could have really scared Ford, British Leyland and Vauxhall. Yet in America they had churned out a real lemon in the form of the Dodge Aspen/ Plymouth Volare, a terrible successor to the well loved Valiant range of cars, and warranty costs were eating into their turnover, which persuaded them to leave Europe. The Alpine, Solara and Horizon had the potential to be truly good cars, but were dogged by ancient SIMCA engines and indifferent quality. That said, my family had three Alpines and had little trouble with them.

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