Press Report : Jaguar Land Rover ‘is indeed looking’ at a North American plant, Tata says

Lindsay Chappell, Automotive News Europe

Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, the holding company of the $100-billion Tata Group, confirms that Jaguar Land Rover is still considering the construction of a US plant
Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, the holding company of the $100-billion Tata Group, has confirmed that Jaguar Land Rover is still considering whether or not to build a plant in North America

Jaguar Land Rover is considering a North American auto plant to keep up with growing world demand for luxury vehicles. News of the possible expansion was confirmed by Tata Motors Chairman Emeritus, Ratan Tata, who led his Indian company’s 2008 acquisition of the British luxury marques from Ford Motor.

‘The company is indeed looking at North America as a location for another plant,” Tata told the South Carolina Automotive Summit last Tuesday. ‘Where they locate that plant, in which country or which state they locate, is something they will need to decide.”

Tata declined to say specifically where Jaguar Land Rover is looking — or whether its site search includes countries elsewhere in the world. However, his comments bring clarity to anonymously sourced media reports early this month saying Georgia officials were seeking to land a Jaguar Land Rover factory. Last week, England’s Birmingham Post cited unnamed company sources saying Austria and Turkey were being explored, not the U.S.

Tata emphasized that he is not part of the decision-making process on the site selection. He retired as Chairman of the family controlled Tata conglomerate in late 2012, although he continues to oversee the Indian company’s philanthropic activities, which has seats on Tata’s corporate board.

His remarks at Tuesday’s conference came via an interview with Keith Crain, Editor-in-Chief of Detroit-based Automotive News.

Late to the game

The luxury company would be late in the game of premium brands investing in North American assembly plants. BMW opened a plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, in 1994, and rival Mercedes-Benz began building SUVs in Vance, Alabama, in 1997. Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus brand began producing SUVs in Ontario in 2003. Acura and Infiniti both produce key models in the United States.

Mexico has attracted two significant premium brand factory projects over the past two years. Audi is now constructing a $1.3 billion plant in Puebla, Mexico, to serve as the global source for its Q5 crossover vehicles. Last year, Nissan Motor Corp. and Daimler AG revealed that they will construct a $1.4 billion factory in Aguascalientes, Mexico. That plant will deliver 150,000 Mercedes-Benz vehicles a year and 150,000 Infiniti vehicles a year starting in 2017.

Expanding footprint

Jaguar Land Rover has been expanding its manufacturing and engineering footprint steadily ever since Tata’s acquisition. Last year, Jaguar Land Rover expanded outside of the UK for the first time, opening a new plant in China in partnership with China’s Chery Automobile. Some of that factory’s output will be exported to other markets. The company is also building an assembly plant to supply Brazil for Latin American sales.

In January, Jaguar Land Rover officials revealed that they anticipate selling more than 500,000 vehicles globally for the first time in 2015. Worldwide sales rose 9 percent last year to 462,678.

Clive Goldthorp


  1. It makes you wonder what might have happened if BL had put its resources behind Jaguar Rover Triumph rather than Austin Morris…

      • No that’s wrong. You forget that BL was really Rover and Triumph. The 1968 merger effectively forced them to take on BMC which was by then a Zombie company. Austin Morris bled BL dry. If as suggested they had been able to recycle Rover and Triumph profits back into development of those brands, you would have had something that looked rather like Jaguar Land Rover looks today.

        • Yes, when you think of the millions and millions of BMW 3 series produced over the last 40 years, and consider that the Triumph Dolomite was probably its nearest competitor when it came out, it makes you want to weep!
          Or the ridiculously slow development of the Range Rover…

  2. The list of premium brands in the article building cars in the southern US or Mexico goes to show that new car customers don’t care where their car is built, so long as it looks nice, the iPhone integration is good, and the lease payments are competitive.

  3. People think of America being the Big Three based in Detroit, but most European and Japanese manufacturers have plants there and Toyota is now bigger than Chrysler. Also this means for all you see plenty of cars in America with foreign badges, in reality most of them will be made in America. This can only be good for the American car industry as it keeps imports low and has created hundreds of thousands of jobs, particularly in the poorer South.

    • You are missing the BIG reason for this.

      These are “right to work” what in the US we call RED states. Very pro-business , anti Union, very conservative, little or no safety net for the individual .

      Cost of labor is of course cheaper as is a lot of stuff like housing.

      These jurisdictions give away free land and factories with lots of Tax abatements as long as they don’t let the union in. Volkswagen tried to have a “works council” in Tennessee and they were openly threatened by local politicians with removing their tax benefits.

      The irony is that these RED states receive more tax back from the US Government than they contribute so they mooch and use the money to steer away business from other states.

      Most of the first BMWs and Mercedes built in the south US about 10-15 years ago have probably already been scrapped as they were pretty bad vehicles. Not a problem now, but JLR should be concerned about this with a startup.

      Boeing is having trouble building 787s in the non union South US, at the moment majority are being reworked in Everett WA. Word is customers are actually requesting Everett built 787.That’s what you get for $20 / hour with no benefits or job security.

  4. @ ExPatBrit
    In general the Southern states are very conservative, even most working class people, particularly if they are white, see unions as something un American and best left in the liberal North. I did read on BBC Online that the vast bulk of union members in America work in the public sector and in the north.

  5. Great news about JLR. Surly this is now very much the company we all wish that BL Cars would have evolved into. Perhaps a more mainstream British brand could be added later…

    Anyway, superb work by all involved.

  6. The car industry is so international now that only a handful of brands, usually Italian supercars and typically British luxury cars, are only made in one country. Everyone thinks of Nissan as Japanese, but most of the cars they sell here are made in Britain, Spain and India, and even that most German of brands, Volkswagen, makes the Polo in Spain and the Toureg in Eastern Europe, although admittedly many of the components are still made in Germany.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.