As UK car production hits a 10-year high, Jaguar Land Rover has become the biggest car maker in the UK, beating Nissan in to second place.
When Tata took control of Jaguar Land Rover from Ford in a deal worth £1.5 billion in 2008, JLR was a company with real problems and a decidedly shaky looking future.
But £11 billion of investment and eight years of inspirational development and design has seen Jaguar Land Rover’s workforce double to 35,000, sales treble to 487,000 cars and now – for the first time in its combined history – Jaguar Land Rover has become the UK’s biggest car maker, building 489,923 cars in the UK in 2015.
That number puts the long time holder of UK’s biggest car maker – Nissan – in to second place, with JLR’s three UK plants outstripping the 476,589 Nissan managed to build in Sunderland.
Of course, there have been hiccups along the way, with JLR factory closures looking likely in the early days, feelings that JLR might move production overseas (although we decided that wasn’t Tata’s plan), and a lack of help from the then Labour Government.
But JLR overcame all that, kept their plants open, found the money they needed and, by 2012, were returning profits that equalled Tata’s original purchase price. They also built a new engine plant for production of the new Ingenium engines (which is now being doubled in size to cope with demand).
JLR Manufacturing Director, Wolfgang Stadler, said:
Britain is the beating heart of our business, so becoming the country’s largest vehicle manufacturer is a remarkable achievement, demonstrating our steadfast commitment to the UK manufacturing sector.
2015 was a challenging year for the industry against a backdrop of socio economic instability, but it is a testament to our strong product range and dedicated team of employees that Jaguar Land Rover has delivered year on year growth, with more exciting products come.
With JLR now the UK’s biggest car maker, it seems likely they will consolidate that position in 2015 as sales of the new Jaguar XE and Land Rover Discovery Sport grow, and the new Jaguar F-Pace comes on stream.
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