Jaguar Land Rover are expected to announce a new £400 million Plant is to be built at the i54 Development in Wolverhampton. Ready in 2013, it will create 2,000 jobs.
Update 19th September: Jaguar has now confirmed our story, although the cost is expected to be £335 million and the number of new jobs 750. We’d guess the 2,00 jobs we quoted in the original story includes jobs created in the supply chain. Work is expected to start on the new engine plant in early 2012.
We’ve been talking about Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) taking the big step of building their own engines for the last couple of years. Because, for those who don’t realise, JLR is still dependent on former JLR owner Ford for all their engines.
Not, from a car point of view, that there’s anything wrong with that; the engines from Ford – suitably fettled for Jaguar and Land Rover use – are some of the finest engines on the planet. In fact may would consider – us included – that the 3.0 litre V6 diesel is the match of the best from BMW. And praise comes no higher.
Not that we think JLR are about to supplant the Ford lumps with their own in the next few weeks, but the plan seems to be to initially develop their own four-pot engines to drop in to stuff like the Evoque and the XF to replace the current 2.2 diesel. But time will tell us exactly what JLR’s engine ambitions are.
For now, we’ve been waiting for JLR to confirm exactly where they are building their new engine plant. The options seemed to be a site in the Midlands or one in South Wales and, according to The Telegraph, the decision has now been made that the new JLR Engine Plant will be built in Wolverhampton, with an official announcement this week.
The plan is to build the engine plant at the i54 development at Wobaston Road, Pendeford on the boundary of South Staffordshire and Wolverhampton and less than 20 miles from Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich Plant.
Handily, the i54 Development has been designated and ‘Enterprise Zone’ which means lots of help on the financial side, with tax breaks and, it would seem, some helping cash from the taxpayer. It will get its own motorway access (on to the M54), which will make life simpler for distribution of the new engines to Castle Bromwich, Solihull and Halewood.
With things on the up for JLR – certainly as far as Land Rover are concerned – this is a hugely sensible step, and a vote of confidence in JLR’s future in the UK. Yes, it’s likely this new engine plant will also be matched by a similar facility in India, and there are plans to build JLR cars in both India and China. But not, it would seem, at the expense of expansion in the UK.
Which is very good news for UK manufacturing, and the Midlands in particular.