Jaguar squares up to its German rivals

Jaguar Land Rover has revealed plans to create 1,700 new jobs in the UK as part of a £1.5bn investment.

by Gabriella Griffith
Last Updated: 23 Sep 2015
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has unveiled plans to expand its product range using new aluminium technology, in a move which will directly challenge its German rivals and create 1,700 new jobs.
The jobs will be at JLR plant in Solihull near Birmingham, and are part of a £1.5bn investment by Jaguar owner Tata, to introduce ‘aluminium vehicle architecture’ into its fleets. Sounds jazzy...
The proposed new vehicle system will allow the car group to make huge savings by using the same aluminium platforms for several car models, a practice already popular with many car makers but led by masters Volkswagen Group, which uses the same platforms for its VW, Audi, Skoda and SEAT ranges. Using the same chassis for several vehicles saves creating new chassis moulds for each car design. Clever.
The use of aluminium is trickier than other materials but it’s lightweight, enabling the cars to save on emissions – making the investment worthwhile in the long-run.
JLR will reveal the prototype for a new range of sporty midsize Jaguars today, the C-X17, which is being seen as a competitor range to those made by BMW and Audi. And where better to stage the big reveal than at the Frankfurt motor show – laying the challenge directly at the feet it its German rivals.
Jaguar Land Rover’s German chief executive, former BMW-er Ralph Speth, will make the announcements at the motor show today.
‘Today's announcement signals Jaguar Land Rover's ambitions to push the boundaries and redefine premium car ownership,’ he said in a statement this morning.
‘Jaguar Land Rover is a business driven by design, technology and innovation and this investment and level of job creation is yet further evidence of our commitment to advancing the capability of the UK automotive sector and its supply chain.’
Predictably, David Cameron and pals are delighted for the opportunity for some more patriotic air punching. The PM hailed the move as ‘fantastic news for Solihull and a huge vote of confidence in the UK.’
‘This investment will also deliver another 24,000 jobs in the supply chain – on top of the 1.3m the private sector has already created since 2010,’ he added.
Business minister Michael Fallon was less covert about his Union Jack waving, calling the news a clear case of, ‘British towels on German sun-loungers’.
The patriotism is somewhat misguided considering JLR is owned by Indian conglomerate Tata Motors. Why do we need foreign ownership to take our car makers to the next level? If it’s British towels on German sun loungers - it was someone else that put them there.

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