The Jaguar E-Pace. Not exactly British anymore…
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has announced that it will be siting its first non-British engine factory in China. The Indian-owned but British-crafted up-market car company has a pre-existing relationship with China’s Chery, and the new plant is seen as an extension of that relationship. JLR hopes that they can put a positive spin on the placing of its new plant and hence the 1.2 billion Pound investment in the People’s Republic as a commitment to the Chinese market. Here JLR hopes to provide customers with an exciting range of vehicles and powertrain variants in the future.
Anybody who can’t see that it is just spin are probably the same people who wrote back to that millionaire Nigerian prince and think that the word gullable has been removed from the dictionary. It is spin; in reality JLR is just moving production to those places where it is cheapest and not necessarily the best. When TATA took over at JLR, one of the promises was that the brand would remain quintessentially English. It hasn’t taken TATA long to overlook that particular promise.
JLR has, of course, just launched its E-Pace the vehicle that it hopes will help propel the company from 500,000 cars a year to the one million mark. According to the company, its production plants in the UK’s Midlands are currently working at full capacity and thus JLR is racing to open new facilities globally to cater for demand. Of course the company’s management is blaming the uncertainty of the UK’s Brexit on not locating the new factories in the heartlands of British car manufacturing.
And so, for the first time ever in Jaguar’s history, not a bit of the new E-Pace will be manufactured in the UK. Although JLR has plants around the world, there was always some part of a Jaguar that would come from dear old Blighty. But at the E-Pace’s glitzy launch last week, where the car performed a record-breaking barrel roll, the company revealed that production would take place in the Austrian contract manufacturer, Magna Steyr, to start with and then later in China, and there would be no UK content in the car.
Bet that wasn’t standard suspension.
Apparently an even smaller all-electric SUV called the I-Pace is destined for launch next year, although there has been no announcement about where that will be produced as of yet.
Should have called it the kitten….
Image sources: Autoexpress UK; Jaguar