JLR has opened an assembly plant in Pune, India to assemble UK produced Freelander 2 CKD kits. And it seems this could be followed by a new engine plant in Pune
We reported last year that Land Rover were going to start building Freelanders in India this year. Well, bolting them together from CKD (Complete Knock Down) imported from Halewood, anyway.
And, bang on target, Land Rover has had a bit of an event at Pune to celebrate the opening of their new assembly plant. We’ve even got some photos to share, you lucky people.
But despite the fact that photos of an Indian assembly facility and opening celebration aren’t as exciting or sexy as the stuff that’s the bread and butter here, this is a big deal. Although not as big a deal as it will be when JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) actually start to build their cars in India from scratch. Which of course they will.
And maybe the second step in that direction (the first being this assembly plant) is going to be a new JLR engine plant in India, as we reported last month.
But when we reported last month we thought that JLR were planning a new engine plant in either the UK or India and we - perhaps unfairly – thought JLR were flying a kite to attract attention and get a bit of help to ‘Keep JLR jobs in Britain’ and build the new engine plant in the UK.
But we’d reckoned without just how big a turnaround there has been in JLR’s fortunes. As we learned just this week, Jaguar Land Rover made a profit of over £1 billion in the year to March end – the biggest ever profit for a UK car maker – and is now in a very strong position.
Which means – according to sources of Autocar’s – that JLR will actually end up building an engine plant in the UK – probably in Wolverhampton – and one in India too – probably at Pune where Tata has a big facility and where the Freelanders are being bolted together.
The engines JLR will be producing in Pune are expected to be 4-pot petrol and diesel lumps – designed in-house – and will replace the costly 4-pot diesel and petrol engines JLR buys in.
For now, at least, the V6 and V8 diesel and petrol engines JLR buys from Ford - and which are produced in the UK by Ford at Dagenham and Bridgend – are safe.
Onward and upward.