A month ago, Jaguar Land Rover signed a joint-venture agreement with China's Chery Automobile Company. JLR's 12.1 billion yuan ($1.9 billion U.S.) investment, if approved, will pay for a plant in Changsu to build Jaguars, Land Rovers, engines and joint-venture models. The facility will also house a research and development center. Chery has submitted the paperwork to clear the deal with the Chinese government. The agreement must pass muster with the Ministry of Enviroment Protection, after which it will go to the National Development and Reform Commission.
When the agreement was first inked an Indian analyst said, "it will be some time before we see the results," a nod to the fact that government approvals can take a long time. Subaru is an instructive example, having signed an agreement with Chery a year ago. Sources said the deal was ready to be approved last November, but that was the last that has been heard of it – it's still waiting on the necessary signatures.
But JLR has the long view in mind: it sold 38,890 vehicles in China last year – all imported – a figure representing double-digit sales gains for both brands. The proposed factory will have a capacity of 130,000 units, providing a healthy buffer in case the bureaucracy sits on things.