Jaguar Land Rover’s Solihull Manufacturing Plant today marked another significant milestone in its 70 year history as it welcomed the Jaguar brand to the site for the first time. The West Midlands based plant marked the beginning of production of the all-new Jaguar XE with the official opening of its state-of-the-art £500m ‘factory within a factory’.
The Jaguar XE, which represents the culmination of more than £2bn of product, infrastructure and technology investment, has been heralded as vitally important for the British automotive supply chain thanks to an additional £4bn worth of contracts committed to 55 UK based suppliers. Together these suppliers, which cover the length and breadth of the country, have provided 55% of the components to this all-new model in the Jaguar line-up.
Jaguar Land Rover Purchasing Director, Ian Harnett, said of the impact of Jaguar’s latest model: “Jaguar Land Rover is one of the UK’s success stories, not simply because it has seen an upsurge in demand thanks to sustained investment, but because it has been able to support a burgeoning, high-tech, highly skilled supply base here in the UK. With each successive new or upgraded model, we are seeing the positive impact felt amongst the entire automotive sector which is great news for everyone committed to ensuring the UK remains truly competitive on a global stage.”
Amongst those suppliers who have felt the positive impact of Jaguar Land Rover’s continued investment in product creation is Rosti McKechnie, a Yorkshire based plastics specialist awarded a £75m contract for the Jaguar XE. The company has taken advantage of the opportunity presented by the growing UK automotive industry, installing a host of new robotic machinery following an investment of £18 million from its new Swedish owners. Their work force has doubled and is set to grow further in support of this contract award. In the Midlands, Rugby based Automotive Insulations, a company which manufactures thermal and acoustic insulation has invested in a new 65,000 sq. ft. premises to accommodate its expanding workforce in preparation to supply the Jaguar XE. Birmingham based Sertec Group has invested £15 million in new presses, robotics and site upgrades, primarily at their Tyseley plant. This in turn has led to the creation of 107 new jobs to work on this vehicle alone.
The arrival of the XE at the Solihull manufacturing plant is significant for both the Jaguar and Land Rover brands. Renowned for producing some of the world’s most iconic saloon cars in history, the advent of XE production at Solihull marks a key milestone for Jaguar, in this, its 80th year. For Land Rover, welcoming the Jaguar brand to its home is the latest in a string of significant developments which have seen the site undergo a spectacular transformation in just five years. In this short time, Solihull production has almost trebled and the workforce has doubled.
The opening of its new body shop and trim and final facilities – which represent the largest single investment in the Solihull plant in its 70 year history, was commemorated today by employees who took part in a celebration of the company’s rich and world-renowned motoring brands. Solihull Operations Director, Alan Volkaerts, was joined by legendary British motor racing driver Sir Stirling Moss OBE, Jaguar’s highly-regarded test driver, Norman Dewis OBE, who developed no less than 25 significant Jaguar cars and Land Rover aficionado Quentin Willson.
Speaking at the official opening, Alan Volkaerts said: “This really is an incredibly special day for Jaguar Land Rover and the team here at Solihull, many of whom have witnessed the plant change beyond all recognition in recent time. The arrival of the new Jaguar XE marks a new chapter in the history of this plant and showcases the flexibility of our manufacturing operation thanks to a strategic investment in aluminium technologies and infrastructure.
“I speak on behalf of the whole team when I say what an incredible privilege it is to be producing not one, but two of the world’s best loved motoring brands.”
The start of XE production at the Solihull plant is the first step in making the site a dual-branded manufacturing operation. Earlier this year, the company confirmed its breakthrough Jaguar performance crossover, the F-PACE is to be built at the site. Capitalising on its £1.5bn investment in a technically-advanced aluminium vehicle architecture, Jaguar Land Rover continues to push for increased competitiveness, flexibility and efficiency to deliver more new and engaging products to customers around the world.