Luxury carmaker Jaguar Land Rover, part of Tata Motors, said it will invest £355 million ($561 million) on a new engine plant in central England, which fought off competition from India with backing from the UK government. The government, keen to support manufacturing in Britain, will provide up to £10 million for a plant expected to create 750 jobs and thousands of jobs across the wider UK economy.
“JLR choosing Wolverhampton for its new engine plant in the face of tough international competition is a tremendous boost for manufacturing in the UK and the West Midlands in particular,” said business secretary Vince Cable.
Cable, a member of the Liberal Democrat junior coalition party, marked the announcement by visiting a JLR production plant in nearby Solihull. The Lib Dems are holding their annual conference in Birmingham, the largest city in the region. Mike Wright, executive director at Jaguar Land Rover, said they had considered building the facility in a number of locations within the UK and outside the UK. “One obvious location would have been India,” Wright told journalists.
“There are a whole host of factors that go into these decisions... but on the balance of all of those factors, we determined with the support of Tata Motors, in this instance, the UK was the best option,” he said.
Jaguar Land Rover already employs more than 19,000 people in Britain and supports up to 140,000 jobs. It has been boosted by strong demand from emerging markets such as Russia and China for its cars. “As we invest £1.5 billion a year for the next five years on new product developments, expanding our engine range will help us realise the full global potential of the Jaguar and Land Rover brands,” said JLR CEO Ralf Speth.
UK is seeking to support manufacturing as part of efforts to rebalance an economy that had been over-reliant on financial services. UK’s car industry is now largely foreign-owned but employs around 800,000 people and accounts for about 10 percent of the country’s exports.