Luxury is now going to be ‘Made in China’. In a joint venture with Chery Automobile Company, Jaguar Land Rover has opened its first overseas manufacturing facility in China, to manufacture the Range Rover Evoque and introduce further Jaguar Land Rover models there by 2016.
The plant-opening forms part of a RMB 10.9 billion joint venture investment demonstrating Jaguar Land Rover’s commitment to the Chinese market. The Changshu facility will have a production capacity of 130,000 units for the Chinese market only.
Dr Ralf Speth, Chief Executive Officer of Jaguar Land Rover, said, “The opening of this world-class facility is an important milestone for Jaguar Land Rover. Since its launch, one in five Range Rover Evoques have been sold in China. Our decision to manufacture the Range Rover Evoque in Changshu is a result of our commitment to bringing more Chinese vehicles to Chinese customers.”
By 2016, the facility is expected to be building three Jaguar Land Rover models with total production capacity of 130,000 units a year. The facility will employ the best and latest manufacturing technology including highly-automated press shops – including cutting-edge aluminium and steel technologies – along with a steel body shop comprising 306 robots, an energy-efficient paint shop and an ergonomically-friendly final assembly line. A new aluminium body shop, the first in China, is already under construction, at the Changshu facility, to support the introduction of new Jaguar products.
Jaguar Land Rover first established a presence in China just over a decade ago and has a long-term commitment to its Chinese customers. Once fully operational, output from the new state-of-the-art facility will include new derivatives and models specially designed for the Chinese market.
This manufacturing facility is being seen as JLR’s attempt to double global sales for the company. Another reason is that by manufacturing locally, the automaker can avoid heavy import duties and price its vehicles more competitively in a fast-growing luxury car market dominated by the German brands such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.