Jaguar Land Rover unveils plans to build electric cars in UK despite Brexit worries

  • Posted by: EvaLawrence
  • Date: 07 May 2019

The company says it will “fight” to stay in the UK but it needs the right Brexit deal to secure future investment in the country.

Jaguar Land Rover has announced plans to build new electric vehicle models at its Castle Bromwich plant, a decision it says safeguards thousands of jobs at the site and in the supply chain.

Britain’s biggest carmaker said it had forced itself into the decision despite continued Brexit uncertainty but signalled future investment in its home market was not guaranteed as it needed to see the “right deal”.

The company said the first electric vehicle to be produced at the Birmingham factory would be Jaguar’s flagship saloon, the XJ.

It will be seen as a boost for the British car industry after JLR chose to make its first electric car, the Jaguar I-Pace, in Austria.

Earlier this year the company – which employs more than 40,000 people in the UK with sites at Halewood, Solihull, Castle Bromwich and Wolverhampton – said it planned to cut 4,500 jobs globally as it works to turn around its fortunes.

It will be seen as a boost for the British car industry after JLR chose to make its first electric car, the Jaguar I-Pace, in Austria.

Earlier this year the company – which employs more than 40,000 people in the UK with sites at Halewood, Solihull, Castle Bromwich and Wolverhampton – said it planned to cut 4,500 jobs globally as it works to turn around its fortunes.

The company, owned by India’s Tata Motors, has previously warned that a no-deal departure from the EU could cost it up to £1.2bn a year.

Like other car makers, it relies on just-in time delivery of imported parts to ensure the efficient operation of its production lines.

JLR said: “We are making this investment because the ongoing Brexit uncertainty has left us with no choice, we had to act, for our employees and our business.

“We are committed to the UK as our home and will fight to stay here but we need the right deal.

“We will continue to work with government to secure a deal that support business.”

Last week, Vauxhall’s French owner PSA said it planned to build the next generation of its Astra model at Ellesmere Port but that this was “conditional on the final terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union”.

Honda and Ford declared earlier this year that their plans to shut factories – at Swindon and in Bridgend – had nothing to do with Brexit.

The sector is under pressure, at a time of falling global sales, to invest heavily in electric technology.

Industry body SMMT said it was a matter of “grave concern” that sales of alternatively-fuelled vehicles are falling in the UK and demanded more incentives for drivers to switch from older petrol and diesels.

JLR’s latest announcement forms part of its plan to offer a full range of Jaguar and Land Rover models from 2020.

It has already said it will open a battery making site from 2020 in the Midlands.

JLR said the transformation of Castle Bromwich into an electrical vehicle plant would begin next month with the installation of new facilities.

Chief executive Ralf Speth 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.”

It has already said it will open a battery making site from 2020 in the Midlands.

JLR said the transformation of Castle Bromwich into an electrical vehicle plant would begin next month with the installation of new facilities.

Chief executive Ralf Speth 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.”