Jaguar Land Rover’s giant new manufacturing operation in China will begin production before the year is out.
The Gaydon giant’s China president has revealed “a product from the Land Rover stable” will be produced at the plan in Changshu within a matter of months.
The plant will have an initial annual production capacity of 130,000 vehicles – more than double the number it sells in the UK, according to JLR’s China president Bob Grace.
Meanwhile, talks are ongoing over another major plant in Saudi Arabia, as JLR’s giant global expansion continues apace.
“They start to make the first prototype bodies this week, and it’s almost a miracle that’s come out of the ground in such a short period of time,” Mr Grace told reporters today at the Beijing motor show. “It’s going to be a product from the Land Rover stable, so it’s going to be an SUV,” he said.
The giant new plant is being built thorugh a joint venture with Chery Automobile in Changshu.
JLR announced in March 2012 that £1.6 billion would be invested in the new plant to manufacture Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles and engines, as well as the establishment of a research and development centre and the creation of a new automobile marque
Industry press say the first vehicle to be produced in China will be an SUV with an engine size of less than two litres.
Mr Grace said manufacturing in China is key to JLR’s earnings growth.
Production in China is seen as particularly important as it is the world’s largest auto market and manufacturing there allows companies to avoid the nation’s 25 percent import tariff.
Meanwhile, the Post reported last month that advanced talks were taking place about a plant in Saudi Arabia, which would go on to employ as many as 5,000 people.
The Post understands the proposals would see next generation of Land Rover Defenders built in the Gulf kingdom and exported to the Far East and beyond.
The move is part of plans to focus on building cars from aluminium – a resource Saudi Arabia is rich in.