Jaguar Land Rover has announced a huge investment to build electric cars in the UK.
The investment will be centred around the Coventry car maker’s plant in Castle Bromwich, the home of Jaguar, but other plants will also benefit.
Dr Ralph Speth, chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover, said: “The future of mobility is electric and as a visionary British company, we are committed to making our next generation of zero-emission vehicles in the UK.”We are co-locating our electric vehicle manufacture, electronic drive units and battery assembly to create a powerhouse of electrification in the Midlands.”
The news was welcomed by the Government and the trade union Unite.
Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Today’s announcement is a vote of confidence in the UK automotive industry – protecting thousands of skilled jobs.
“It reflects our determination for the UK to be at the forefront of the development and manufacturing of the next generation of electric vehicles.”
Our sister website BusinessLive is running a live blog on Jaguar Land Rover’s announcement today You can find it. He added: “JLR’s announcement recognises the strength of the excellent workforce at Castle Bromwich and acknowledges the efforts of many parties, including the government and the Mayor Andy Street, to invest and build a sustainable future in the region for advanced manufacturing, safeguarding jobs and skills.”
The investment, which was revealed in the media earlier this week , marks the run-out of the existing XJ, which was made at Castle Bromwich.
It comes in the wake of an agreement by employees to work a four-day week at the Birmingham site.
The agreement was drafted between the company and Unite and hailed as a deal that would secure the future of the Castle Bromwich plant and pave the way for future investment. Employees will still work a 37-hour week.
Huge electric investment, what the credit rating downgrade means, Slovakia update and F-Type spy shots – your Jaguar Land Rover digest Unite’s assistant general secretary for manufacturing Steve Turner said: “Today’s trailblazing announcement by Jaguar Land Rover is testament to the skill and hard work of Unite members and shop stewards.
“Once again they have pulled out all the stops to secure the new investment needed for this new model which will be the first UK built all-electric executive saloon.
“Not only is it a fantastic boost to the UK car industry, but it ensures that Jaguar Land Rover’s Castle Bromwich site remains a powerhouse of the regional economy providing a living for thousands of workers and supporting many more in the supply chain.
“This is a proud day for our members and Jaguar Land Rover.
“The Government and Theresa May’s replacement as prime minister must make sure it is not the last for the UK’s world beating car workers and their families. ”
The Castle Bromwich plant, near Junction 5 of the M6, employs around 2,500 workers.
It produces the XE, XF, XF Sportbrake, F-Type and the current XJ models.
Jaguar Land Rover said the transformation of Castle Bromwich will be “the most significant in the plant’s history”.
The new electric vehicles will be based on the company’s Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA).
Mr Speth said: Convenience and affordability are the two key enablers to drive the uptake of electric vehicles to the levels that we all need. Charging should be as easy as re-fuelling a conventional vehicle.
“Affordability will only be achieved if we make batteries here in the UK, close to vehicle production, to avoid the cost and safety risk of importing from abroad.
“The UK has the raw materials, scientific research in our universities and an existing supplier base to put the UK at the leading edge of mobility and job creation.”
Jaguar Land Rover was the Jaguar I-Pace, which is made under contract by Magna Steyr in Austria.
Batteries for new electric vehicles will be made at a new factory being built in Hams Hall in Warwickshire, while the electric motors will be manufactured at Jaguar Land Rover’s engine plant near Wolverhampton.
The news of investment will come as a welcome shot in the arm for Jaguar Land Rover, as the firm battles the triple woes of falling sales in China, declining demand for diesel vehicles and ongoing uncertainty over Brexit.
Earlier this year the company announced plans to cut more than 4,000 jobs and later posted losses of £358m (or £3.6 billion if a writedown on the value of assets was taken into account) for the 2018/19 financial year.
Rumours have persisted of a tie-up with, or takeover by, French car maker PSA Group, though Jaguar Land Rover has recently signed a partnership deal with BMW to produce electric drive units (EDUs) for the next generation of electric vehicles.