Jaguar Land Rover to start production at Chinese venture in 2015

Article by Anita Panait, on February 10, 2014

Jaguar Land Rover production at its Chinese joint venture with Chery Automobile Co. will start in 2015, due to delays in getting machinery and equipment, Chief Executive Officer Ralf Speth has disclosed. He remarked that in principle, they expect to start producing vehicles at the joint venture this year, noting that “it was never meant to be big production."

Speth remarked that they may conduct some test building this year to have the joint venture’s workers trained and ready by the time production and sale start in 2015. Jaguar Land Rover considers the joint venture – formally known as Chery Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Company Ltd. -- as key to its growth in China, since local manufacturing allows carmakers to sidestep the 25-percent import tariff. In 2013, the carmaker posted a 30-percent rise in sales of Jaguars and Land Rovers in China to 95,237 units.

The Chery Jaguar Land Rover joint venture is planning to spend CHY10.9 billion ($1.8 billion) to construct a site in Changshu as well as an r&d center and an engine plant. The carmaker posted a 50-percent surge in profit in the fiscal first half ended Sept. 30, 2013, to GBP811 million ($1.3 billion).

Jaguar Land Rover and Chery were first reported to be holding talks over a possible Chinese joint venture as early as August 2010. In March 2012, Jaguar Land Rover and Chery announced plans for $2.78 billion investment into a China-based joint venture to produce Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles and engines. The investment also includes the creation of a new r&d center and a new automobile marque.

The National Development and Reform Commission in China formally approved joint venture in November 2012, and Chery Jaguar Land Rover commenced the construction of its first assembly plant in Changshu in the same month. The Changshu plant is expected to be completed in July 2014.

Tata Motors currently owns the Jaguar and Land Rover brands. In 1954, The Jaguar Land and Rover have been part of British Leyland until 1984, when they became part of separate companies. Ford acquired Jaguar Cars in 1989 as well as Land Rover in 2000. In 2006, Ford acquired the Rover brand name from BMW, reuniting the Rover and Land Rover brands.

In June 2007, Ford announced plans to sell Jaguar and Land Rover. Interested buyers included Tata Motors, which in January 2008 established Jaguar Land Rover Limited. Tata Motors completed the acquisition of Jaguar Cars Limited and Land Rover from Ford in June 2008. After the acquisition, Jaguar Cars Limited and Land Rover commenced operations as two separate companies on an integrated basis.

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