i54 hits top gear with Jaguar Land Rover's petrol engines
Production at the Jaguar Land Rover engine factory in Wolverhampton is set to hit top gear after the carmaker revealed some of its 2018 models will be the first fitted with petrol engines from the site.
Up until now it has just made diesel engines for Jaguars, Range Rovers and Land Rover Discovery models.
But work has been under way for more than a year preparing for petrol engine production for its 2018 F-Pace, XF and XE models.
JLR says it is still conducting test runs at the moment but, with the new model cars already available to order and deliveries due to start in the summer, full scale production may be only weeks away.
It also puts the i54 site on track to hit its target of creating 1,400 jobs.
JLR expects to reach that mark this year as the engine factory hits peak production.
But more jobs are on their way as work nears completion on the massive extension to the factory, which will take Jaguar Land Rover's investment at the site to a staggering £1 billion since work first started back in 2012.
Details of the new building are still covered in secrecy but it is expected to house an expansion to the site's engine manufacturing and create around 1,000 more jobs.
As well as new petrol engines, the new Jaguars will have a series of hi-tech new features as the company builds on its impressive sales performance.
More than 2,694 Jaguars made their way onto UK driveways in January, an increase of 20 per cent on the same month last year, giving the brand its best January UK performance ever.
Last year Jaguar sold more vehicles in the UK than ever before, surpassing a 12-year-old record. The popularity of the XE, XF and F-Pace were key in helping the brand to retail 34,728 vehicles in the UK last year, a 17 per cent climb on 2015.
Jeremy Hicks, JLR's UK managing director, said: "These three models were important in driving us to a record performance in the UK in 2016.
"The XF sold almost 10,000 vehicles last year and the XE and F-PACE alone made up 62 per cent of all Jaguar 2016 UK sales.
"These models are attracting new customers to the Jaguar brand and now with an extended offering this appeal can only grow.
"It is all about giving our customers more choice. All three vehicles offer a wider range of engines and a suite of new technology, comfort and convenience enhancements that will make them even more relevant for UK buyers."
The new models will utilise two all-new four-cylinder two-litre Ingenium petrol engines, which have been introduced alongside a high-output 240PS diesel powerplant.
Also F-Pace benefits from a cleaner and more efficient new E-Performance diesel engine, which promises carbon dioxide emissions as low as 126g per kilometre.
The new 200PS and 250PS two-litre four-cylinder Ingenium petrol engines use JLR's low friction aluminium-intensive design which makes them lighter and more heat efficient – improving their fuel consumption.
Nick Rogers, executive director for product engineering, said: "We are committed to expanding the Ingenium powertrain family produced at our award-winning £1 billion Engine Manufacturing Centre in Wolverhampton as we meet current and future consumer needs."
The new models are available to order now at Jaguar dealerships in the UK, with prices starting at £34,730 for the F-Pace, £32,490 for the XF and £28,295 for the XE.
The cars will also offer a touchscreen to pay for fuel at Shell service stations with a new in-car cashless payment system.
Owners who install the Shell App can simply drive up to any pump at a Shell service station and use the touchscreen to select how much fuel they require and pay using PayPal or Apple Pay.
Android Pay will be added later in 2017.
Once the driver has filled up, an electronic receipt will be displayed on the touchscreen.
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