Jaguar Land Rover reveals £100m investment in Castle Bromwich factory
JLR is to pump £100 million into its Castle Bromwich factory so it can start making the hugely popular Jaguar XE saloon.
The car was the first of the new generation of Jaguar Land Rovers made with aluminium bodies and Ingenium diesels made at the Wolverhampton engine factory on the i54.
The Jaguar XE has been made at Solihull, where the company has makes the new F-Pace crossover – the most popular model the company has ever produced.
Because of the huge demand for both cars JLR has decided it will gradually switch production of the XE to Castle Bromwich, which has traditionally been the home of Jaguar production in recent years.
The 112-acre site, which employs 3,000 people, is already making the revamped XE, the new Jaguar F-Type sports car and the XJ luxury saloon.
There is no suggestion at the moment that the move will mean any major increase in jobs.
JLR says the move demonstrates how flexible its West Midlands manufacturing operations now are, following £1 billion of investment at both Solihull and Castle Bromwich in new press lines, body shops and final assembly halls.
Wolfgang Stadler, Jaguar Land Rover's executive director of manufacturing, said: "The significant investment to create two centres of excellence in aluminium vehicle manufacturing, utilising shared technologies, was deliberate. It gives us the flexibility to quickly respond to consumer demand for our growing range of products."
The arrival of XE at Castle Bromwich continues the renaissance of the plant, which was slated for closure in 2008. The £100m investment to welcome the latest model takes the total invested in the site to more than £500m over the last two years.
Nicolas Guibert, Castle Bromwich operations director, said: "2016 is a pivotal year for Castle Bromwich. The arrival of the XE sees us increase our model lines and volume.
"This plant has a rich heritage and is undergoing its most significant transformation in decades, with major infrastructure projects either complete or under way. The commissioning of our all-new press line and launch of our body shop to support the introduction of XE means Castle Bromwich is future-proof."
In August, Jaguar sales stood at 85,726 for the year, an increase of 72 per cent on 2015. This strong performance is driven primarily by F-Pace and XE, which made its US market debut in the summer.
Jaguar Land Rover's Solihull plant will continue to operate three shifts, 24 hours a day, to keep up with global demand for the Jaguar F-PACE and Range Rover Sport which are built on the same production line.
Meanwhile work is continuing on the expansion of the JLR engine factory in Wolverhampton, which has already grown to employ 1,000 people as it produces diesel Ingenium four-cylinder engines for a range of cars. Production of petrol engines is due to start this year, and a building programme due to complete next year will see the factory double in size, turning it into a £1 billion facility.