Luxury carmaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has signed a contract to build some vehicles in Austria, it said on Thursday (2), a further expansion away from its UK manufacturing base.
The brand, which has been owned by India’s Tata Group since acquiring it from Ford in 2008, opened its first overseas manufacturing plant in China in October and is building a Brazilian plant in a bid to expand volumes and bring production closer to key markets.
The automaker said it had signed a manufacturing partnership with Magna Steyr, a unit of Magna International, and would build an unspecified number of models in the Austrian city of Graz as its three British plants were close to capacity.
However, chief executive Ralf Speth sought to reassure customers and workers in Britain, where the firm built almost one in three of the country’s 1.53 million cars in 2014, that it was staying loyal to its origins.
“The UK remains at the centre of our design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities. Partnerships such as this will complement our UK operations and engineering”, he said.
Over the past five years, JLR has doubled sales to more than 4,62,000 vehicles, increased employment to over 35,000 people and invested more than £10bn in new product creation and capital expenditure.
The company has also invested in its UK vehicle manufacturing facilities at Castle Bromwich, Halewood and Solihull in the West Midlands to support the introduction of 10 new vehicles, including the Jaguar XE, Jaguar F-Type, Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport.
“The signing of this contract with Jaguar Land Rover reflects the trust in our capability and heritage as a vehicle contract manufacturer,” said Gunther Apfalter, president of Magna Steyr and Magna International Europe, which claims nearly 100 years’ experience in contract manufacturing.
“The partnership with Jaguar Land Rover brings a new customer to our Graz plant. As always, we will work with our fullest commitment and dedication to ensure that we meet our customer’s high expectations,” he said.
JLR said it would spend around £3.6 billion ($5.6bn) on new vehicles and capital expenditure in 2015-16 as it expands its range.