Jaguar Land Rover has opened its new Plant in Slovakia, with a capacity of 150,000 vehicles a year, which will see Discovery production – and more – move from the UK.
Jaguar Land Rover are finding things tough at the moment, with concerns over Brexit and the loss of love for diesel engines weighing heavily on a company whose production base is firmly anchored in the UK, and whose vehicles predominantly come with diesel engines.
JLR do build cars away from the UK – in China, Brazil and India and, for the I-Pace, in Austria – but now we have a sea change in JLR’s production footprint with the wholesale move of Land Rover Discovery production to a new Plant in Slovakia – firmly inside the EU – announced earlier this year, which is now open and taking work away from Solihull.
The new £1 billion Plant in Nitra, Slovakia, is a 300,000 square metre facility which currently employs 1,500 (with another 850 to follow), enjoys an established local supply chain thanks to the presence of other premium car makers in Slovakia, and can churn out 150,000 vehicles a year.
JLR has already said the Nitra Plant will produce all Discovery models going forward, but it’s going to take a lot more than just producing the Discovery to keep Nitra busy.
A capacity of 150,000 vehicles a year is more than three times the annual sales of the Discovery, so it won’t be a surprise if JLR move all, or most, of Discovery Sport production to Nitra too.
The combined sales of the Discovery and Discovery Sport in the last year were just a smidge over that 150,000 capacity, but take out numbers produced in China, Brazil and India, and the Slovakian Plant could easily cope with producing all the Discovery and Discovery Sport models JLR can sell in the rest of the world. And, perhaps, the new Land Rover Defender too.
Which could well mean not a single Land Rover model (as opposed to Range Rover models) is actually built in the UK before long.