The Range Rover Evoque will be the first model that will be produced at Jaguar Land Rover's new factory in Changsu, China. According to Ralf Speth JLR’s new site -- a joint venture with Chinese carmaker Chery Automobile -- will start with the vehicle with the highest demand in China.
He remarked that the site may also start producing the new Land Rover Discovery Sport in the future.
Speth said that starting with one vehicle at first allows them to train its employees and “bring them up to speed." JLR will officially open the Changsu plant in October, with production commencing shortly after.
The Changsu site -- JLR’s first full-scale production site outside the United Kingdom – also houses an engine plant that will commence operations next year, building the carmaker’s new range of Ingenium four-cylinder units.
The opening of a new plant in China underscores how important the country is for JLR as a market. In fact, JLR sold 62,479 vehicles in China in the first half of 2014, while selling 240,372 units globally – which means the country accounts for around a fourth of the carmaker’s total volume.
JLR’s new site also will produce vehicles that will be marketed and sold under a new joint venture brand. JLR also plans to produce the Evoque in China for the domestic market while still building the version for other markets at its Halewood site in the UK.
He also remarked that if ever JLR decides to produce a long-wheelbase version of the new Jaguar XE midsize sedan, it would have to be built in China, “otherwise it doesn’t make sense.”
In 2013, Bernstein analyst Max Warburton wrote in a report that JLR is eyeing to sell 150,000 cars in China in 2015. He believes that China accounts for around half of its profits thanks to strong demand for the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. [source: automotive news - sub. required]