Jaguar Land Rover Making Headlines
It seems that you simply cannot keep Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) out of the news these days and, unlike days of old when it was more about soured industrial relations and poor product quality, the headlines now seem to be all about growth and accolades for the JLR range of products. This week came the news that the company will commence manufacturing of their class-leading Evoque SUV and Freelander in the new factory in the eastern city of Changshu.
The factory is a joint venture with Chery Automobile and JLR, which in turn is owned by India’s Tata Group, and is reported to have an annual capacity of 130,000 vehicles. The SUV market is one of the fastest expanding segments in China with year-on-year growth of 41% as of the end of May, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. During the same period, JLR’s sales grew by more than 53% with over 10,000 cars a month being sold.
Historically, this sort of news would have been met with dread by the British authorities and of course the trade unions, as it would be followed by job cut announcements as jobs migrated from the high-cost to lower-cost centres. Not this time, though, as JLR has just announced that the production of the forthcoming Discovery Sports will take place at its Halewood plant near Liverpool, England, a move that will create some 250 additional jobs at the plant.
More than £200 million has been invested in the plant, while the additional jobs to support JLR’s growth will see the Halewood workforce reach 4,750 – more than treble the number employed back in 2010.
‘The Land Rover Discovery Sport is the next in a line of exciting new products to come from Jaguar Land Rover,’ said Jaguar Land Rover’s CEO, Dr Ralf Speth. ‘I am delighted that Halewood – and Liverpool – has been selected for this new investment. It is totally deserved, and strengthens the “special relationship” that bonds Jaguar Land Rover to this great city.’
The Discovery Sport is expected to debut at the Paris Motor Show later this year, ahead of arriving in showrooms in 2015. It will be the first of an all-new Discovery family from Land Rover, which will spawn more than the initial three models we first expected. Land Rover states the Discovery Sport will be ‘the most versatile and capable vehicle in the compact SUV segment.’
Hot on the heels of these announcements comes news of perhaps the fastest Range Rover of all time – well, at least the fastest from JLR themself. The Special Vehicles Operations division has released a couple of teaser videos of the new brute tackling the Nurburgring. With an engine “borrowed” from the Jaguar XKR and boasting 542bhp, which is 39 more than the current range-topping Range Rover Sports, the all-wheel drive Range Rover “Super” Sport can hit zero to 100kph in 4.8 seconds and top out at over 260 kph.