JLR invests £450m in Wolverhampton plant

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is set to increase its engine factory in the Midlands by half.

The expansion will consolidate its position as one of the largest investors in British manufacturing and will create “hundreds” of jobs in addition to the 1,400 employees due to be hired by the end of 2016.

The investment will be pumped into the firm’s Wolverhampton site, which manufacturers ultra-low emission, four-cylinder diesel engines.

The funds are part of an almost £1bn package plugged into the factory that opened in October 2014.

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya and Dr Ralf Speth (2)
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya and Dr Ralf Speth.

JLR CEO, Ralf Speth commented: “We are absolutely committed to the UK. You have highly motivated and very creative people … in our case offering British design [and] engineering gives us an advantage on a global basis.”

Experts have weighed on the situation saying the move is aligned with the car manufacturer’s target to increase deliveries of its cars to one million by 2020.

Professor David Bailey of Aston Business School, added: “The fact they’re scaling up so quickly reflects the scale of their ambitions over the next decade. This [expansion] is a clear indication that they have increased production output.”

Automotive lead for the Business Growth Service, and TM Top 100 judge, Rachel Eade, welcomed the investment, noting: “There has been a lot of talk about Jaguar Land Rover’s global expansion plans and the possibility of creating new plants overseas.

Rachel Eade, national automotive lead, Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS).
Rachel Eade, national automotive lead, Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS).

“This £450m investment reinforces the car maker’s commitment to the UK and underlines how the i54 engine plant is already playing a crucial role in the company’s ambitious plans to double its production output and achieve lower emission engines.

“As well as the hundreds of jobs set to be created at the plant, there will no doubt be additional spin-offs in the supply chain and we expect our SMEs to be in an ideal position to take advantage of increased volumes and new opportunities.

“Our role is to make sure we work with the component manufacturers to ensure they have the capacity and the skills required to meet the demands of JLR, other car makers and tier 1s. According to industry sources we could well be on course to match the 1970s peak of 2m cars by the end of the decade.”