Jaguar Land Rover has announced its intention to build a new assembly plant in Slovakia. Though it has yet to make the final decision, the British automaker has signed a Letter of Intent with the Slovakian government. Its next step is to launch a feasibility study before committing.

If the company does go ahead with plans, it wouldn't be the first automaker – or even the first European luxury automaker for that matter – to start producing in Slovakia. Nor would it be the first Jaguar Land Rover plant outside the UK, either. The Volkswagen Group, PSA Peugeot Citroën, and Kia all manufacture in the Central European country. VW's Bratislava plant in particular handles production of the Touareg, Audi Q7, and Porsche Cayenne.

In the past few years, JLR has expanded its production capacity to new locations outside of the UK. It has a new factory in China, one under construction in Brazil, and has been manufacturing in India – home country of its parent company Tata – since 2011. It recently announced a manufacturing contract with Magna Steyr in Austria, and is investing in its facilities back home as well.

Though yet to be finalized, the prospect of manufacturing in Slovakia has proven more favorable to JLR than other locations in Europe or in the United States or Mexico – all possibilities that the company says it looked into. It has yet to reveal just what it would produce there, saying only that "the plant would manufacture a range of aluminium Jaguar Land Rover vehicles," that the plant would be earmarked to come online in 2018 and eventually ramp up production to 300,000 vehicles. The prevailing wisdom would seem to indicate, however, that the site is being considered for the next-generation Land Rover Defender.

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JAGUAR LAND ROVER UNVEILS NEXT STAGE OF GLOBAL EXPANSION PLANS

- Letter of Intent signed for potential new plant in the Slovak Republic
- Indicates the next stage of the Company's expansion plans to support a competitive global business in the future
- Jaguar Land Rover's global expansion underpins long-term investment in new vehicles and technologies in the UK

Coventry, UK – Jaguar Land Rover has signed a Letter of Intent with the Government of the Slovak Republic for the potential development of a new manufacturing plant in the city of Nitra in western Slovakia. With its established premium automotive industry, Slovakia is an attractive possible development opportunity.

The move marks the next step in the Company's strategy to become a more competitive global business by expanding its manufacturing operations into new international locations in the future.

The UK is the cornerstone of Jaguar Land Rover's business. It remains at the centre of Jaguar Land Rover's design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities. Over the past five years, Jaguar Land Rover has employed more than 20,000 people taking its workforce to more than 36,000 and invested more than £11 billion in new product creation and capital expenditure.

During this time, the Company has invested heavily in its UK vehicle manufacturing facilities at Castle Bromwich, Halewood and Solihull to support the introduction all-new vehicles such as the Jaguar XE, Jaguar F-PACE, Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport. Jaguar Land Rover has also invested more than £500 million in a new Engine Manufacturing Centre in the UK, creating 1,400 new jobs in the Midlands. In addition, it plans to expand its advanced engineering and design centre at Whitley, Coventry and invest in the National Automotive Innovation Centre at the University of Warwick. Jaguar Land Rover's sustained investment supports the delivery of the UK's wider industrial strategy.

Dr Ralf Speth, Chief Executive Officer, Jaguar Land Rover, said, "The expansion of our business globally is essential to support its long-term, resilient growth. As well as creating additional capacity, it allows us to invest in the development of more new vehicles and technologies, which supports jobs in the UK.

"With its established premium automotive industry, Slovakia is an attractive potential development opportunity for us. The new factory will complement our existing facilities in the UK, China, India and the one under construction in Brazil."

The feasibility study underway with the Slovakian Government will explore plans for a factory with an installed capacity of up to 300,000 vehicles over the next decade. As part of Jaguar Land Rover's commitment to deliver more lightweight vehicles, the plant would manufacture a range of aluminium Jaguar Land Rover vehicles. It is anticipated that the first cars will come off the production line in 2018.

Following robust analysis of a number of locations including Europe, the United States and Mexico, Jaguar Land Rover has selected Slovakia as its preferred location. It is close to a strong supply chain and good logistics infrastructure. Subject to the outcome of the feasibility study, a final decision is expected later this year.

Robert Fico, Prime Minister of Slovakia said, "The Slovakian Government is delighted to be selected as Jaguar Land Rover's preferred location for this feasibility study.

We are committed to developing Slovakia's premium automotive industry and, should we be successful, this investment would represent a significant step forward in achieving this. It would provide a boost to our country's wider industrial strategy as well as benefitting the European Union as a whole.

We look forward to working closely with Jaguar Land Rover over the coming months to progress the negotiations."

Jaguar Land Rover has made significant progress in building its international manufacturing presence over the last year. It opened a new joint venture in China and commenced construction of its local manufacturing plant in Brazil at the end of 2014. The creation of new international plants allows Jaguar Land Rover to increase its presence in regions that have been identified as having growth potential, protect against currency fluctuations and achieve a more efficient, globally competitive business.


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