Jaguar Land Rover needs US site to grow and compete, says CEO

Article by Andrew Christian, on March 11, 2015

Jaguar Land Rover needs to have a plant in the United States to remain competitive and continue to grow, remarked chief executive Ralf Speth. However, JLR needs to have a vehicle that could sell between 30,000 and 40,000 units to justify the establishment of a plant in the US. He said that a vehicle made in the US would have be sold primarily in the country as the carmaker does not want to export a large number of US-built vehicles overseas.

In 2014, JLR’s best-selling vehicle in the US was the Range Rover Sport, which volume reached just under 18,000 units. According to Speth, a healthy supply of aluminum would be essential since JLR is planning to use aluminum space-frames for all its vehicles and use aluminum components extensively.

He remarked that the supply and quality of aluminum would improve in the US with the launch of the aluminum-bodied Ford F-150 pickup and with the expected surge of new vehicles with increased aluminum content.

Speth quipped that a decision to build a plant in the US is about three years away since JLR has the resources to do only one major site at a time.

Just in October 2014, JLR opened a new site in China in a joint venture with Chery Automobile. In late 2014, it broke ground for a new plant in Brazil. Speth conceded that a premium crossover would make the most sense for a US production.

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