Jaguar Land Rover has unveiled the details of its joint Chinese venture with Chery Automobile Company after the foundation stone was laid for a new manufacturing facility in Changshu, near Shanghai.
The joint venture - which will be called the Chery Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Company - will see the production of both JLR vehicles and new models for a partnership brand aimed specifically at Chinese car buyers.
Around £1.1 billion will be invested in the new facility, which will also include a research and development centre and an engine manufacturing plant.
The announcement said as well as creating jobs the partnership would see the development of advanced technologies and low carbon solutions.
Following formal approval from China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), plans to develop the new plant in Jiangsu province will now be accelerated with the aim of it being completed in 2014.
Both companies said the partnership would blend JLR’s “heritage and experience of luxury premium vehicle manufacturer” and Chery’s “intricate knowledge and understanding of Chinese customers”.
They added that it represented “a firm commitment from both companies to the world’s largest car market for the long term future”.
In a joint statement Dr Ralf Speth, JLR’s chief executive officer, and Yin Tongyao, chairman and chief executive officer of Chery Automobile Company, said: “We are delighted to have reached this milestone, achieved thanks to the understanding and foresight of the NDRC and we want to thank the Commission for recognising the potential of our joint venture in the fast-growing Chinese market.
“Together, we will now begin working in close collaboration on our partnership plans to harness the capabilities of our respective companies, to produce relevant, advanced models for Chinese consumers.”
The move represents a crucial foothold in China for JLR and builds on the firm’s soaring sales in the country.
In 2005 sales in China accounted for just one per cent of JLR’s combined sales. It recently became the firm’s biggest market and is still growing.
Sales rose by 80 per cent in the first ten months of 2012, following on from a successful 2011 where they increased by more than 60 per cent.
The sales boom has been driven in large part by the Jaguar XJ and XF models and strong demand for the Range Rover Evoque.
In the 15 years since its inception Chery has grown to become China’s sixth largest car company and its biggest exporter of cars. It currently makes passenger cars, SUVs, engines and transmissions.
It said its partnership with JLR signalled the start of a major phase of international expansion and strategic development.