JLR Pledges 1,700 New Jobs For Solihull

Vehicle manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover is to create 1,700 new jobs in the West Midlands as part of a £1.5bn investment in its facilities that will revolutionise the way the company makes its cars.

The investment will see the introduction of new production facilities at the firm’s plant in Solihull. The move will pave the way for the company’s vehicles to be manufactured using the new technically-advanced aluminium vehicle architecture currently used on the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models.

JLR has said it intends to begin producing an all-new Jaguar sports saloon using the new methods and the first cars will roll off the production lines in 2015. The new cars will also be fitted with engines manufactured at the firm’s new factory near Wolverhampton.

Lest anyone think this is a tight timetable, the investment in new facilities is already well advanced. The company opened its new aluminium bodyshop for the Range Rover and Sport models earlier this year and on a tour of facilities this summer journalists were shown where the new advanced manufacturing facility was being built.

The new factory will effectively be a carbon copy of the 4×4 bodyshop and will mean the company can make a large stride to introducing the manufacturing technique across its whole range.

The existing bodyshop produces the world’s single largest body panel, which is used on the new Range Rover. The new production technique involves a process of riveting and bonding (gluing) the structure which means that traditional energy intensive construction methods such as welding are eliminated. The benefits of this mean lighter vehicles and lower running costs.

The announcement of the new jobs was made by JLR CEO Dr Ralf Speth at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Dr Speth said: “Today’s announcement signals Jaguar Land Rover’s ambitions to push the boundaries and redefine premium car ownership. At Jaguar Land Rover we place the customer at the heart of everything we do and the introduction of a world class all-new aluminium vehicle architecture means we will be more competitive, flexible and efficient delivering exciting new products for our customers around the world. “Jaguar Land Rover is a business driven by design, technology and innovation and this investment and level of job creation is yet further evidence of our commitment to advancing the capability of the UK automotive sector and its supply chain.”

The 1,700 jobs brings the total number of UK manufacturing jobs announced by JLR over the last three years to almost 11,000.Jaguar has also revealed its first ever sports crossover concept vehicle – the C-X17 – which was created as a design study to introduce the all-new aluminium monocoque architecture. The C-X17 concept, left, illustrates the diversity of vehicles that could be produced using the architecture such as the four-seater sports crossover.

As if further proof were needed of the company’s growth, it announced today that it had seen record sales for August. During the month it sold 27,852 vehicles, an increase of 28% on the same month last year. For the year-to-date, JLR has sold 269,653 vehicles around the world, up 16% on 2012.The company’s investment has been welcomed by the Government. Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Jaguar Land Rover has been experiencing great success over the last couple of years but this ground-breaking project takes Jaguar onto the next level.

“This all-aluminium architecture project typifies the type of innovative and high value R&D that the UK excels in and Government is supporting through the automotive industrial strategy.”
The company has also pledged that in order to fully realise the potential of the new vehicle architecture it will “significantly increase spend with the supply base”. Such a move could pave the way for thousands of new jobs in the local components sector.

Andy Street, chairman of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Jaguar Land Rover is, without doubt, one of the economic success stories for the UK economy and we are fortunate many of the benefits from this success are felt in the Greater Birmingham area. The announcement is just the latest in a series of exciting developments from the company over the last few years.”
Neil Rami, chief executive of Marketing Birmingham – which operates Business Birmingham – said: “Today’s news is to be hugely welcomed. The creation of 1,700 jobs to support the manufacture of its new vehicles demonstrates the company’s firm commitment to the region, despite growing global competition, which will be well received by those in the local supply chain. This investment also sends a clear message to other potential investors that the West Midlands delivers the goods for growth.”

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