Around 200,000 families across the country are now benefitting from Jaguar Land Rover’s success according to its UK managing director.
The Midland car-maker’s growth - which shows no sign of slowing - has seen its workforce doubled since 2008 and thousands of further jobs created in the UK supply chain.
And an independent study has estimated 200,000 families in the UK are reaping the benefits of that success.
Just how far Jaguar Land Rover’s success has reached was highlighted by the company’s UK boss Jeremy Hicks.
Mr Hicks told the Post: “Since 2008, we have doubled the workforce to 34,000 people and have created more than 18,000 new jobs. “According to the independent Oxford Economics Group, Jaguar Land Rover contributes to a better life for around 200,000 families in the UK across the supply chain. That’s hugely positive for the local and national economy.”
Mr Hicks was speaking following the start of production of the Jaguar XE at the firm’s Lode Lane plant in Solihull.
Traditionally the home of Land Rover it marks the first time a Jaguar vehicle has been produced there and follows huge investment in an aluminium body shop and new facilities which see the XE and Range Rover Sport assembled on the same production line.
Mr Hicks believes the brands sit perfectly side by side and that integration is key to continued success.
“Absolutely – it’s a natural fit,” he said. “As we said at the official opening of the new facilities - we’re one company. If we’re going to maximise our potential going forward then this kind of integration is vital.”
Much has been made of just how important the XE is going to be for Jaguar, a car which will be competing with the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and Mr Hicks concurs.
He said: “It is a game-changing car for Jaguar. It enters a vital segment of the market for us and it gives us a product that can credibly compete in the fleet market.
“It also represents a huge amount of investment – it’s built on a brand new, aluminium-intensive, lightweight vehicle architecture, it’s powered by a range of brand new, ultra-economical Ingenium diesel engines and it’s manufactured at a brand new facility at our Solihull factory.”
As to whether they have pulled it off, Mr Hicks is confident. He added: “Fortunately, the feedback we’ve had so far confirms that we’ve delivered everything we promised we would with XE.
“The industry residual value rate-setters have confirmed that it has the lowest rate of depreciation and the best whole-life vehicle costs in the premium compact saloon segment.
“The reviews we’ve had based on prototype test drives earlier this year have confirmed it’s one of the best – if not the best – handling cars in its class. And it was named ‘The Most Beautiful Car of 2014‘ at the 30th Festival Automobile International in Paris.”
The Jaguar revolution in Solihull is set to continue with the F-Pace crossover which will go into production there next year. XE has seen the creation of 1,700 jobs and the F-Pace will add a further 1,300.
Asked how Jaguar Land Rover has come so far so fast Mr Hicks said: “Following significant investment by Tata Group, we have been able to roll out a hugely aggressive product launch programme for Jaguar and Land Rover in the last six years.
“We have placed the customer at the heart of all product launch decisions, which I believe is why we have grown considerably in a relatively short time.
“We currently invest more in product and technology each year than we make in revenue.
“We are now able to launch exciting cars like the new Land Rover Discovery Sport and Jaguar XE.
“Both enter the market as the benchmark for capability, performance and efficiency - that engenders huge confidence across the business.”
With the car-maker clearly at a crucial crossroads in its history Mr Hicks says there is a collective feeling of creating “something special”.
He said: “There’s a real sense at Jaguar Land Rover at the moment that we are part of something special.
“Going forward, you can expect more of what you’ve seen from us over the past few years.
“We will continue producing cars that appeal to the head as well as the heart, cars that have breath-taking design and performance but that also offer rock-solid residual values and competitive running costs.
“The XE and F-Pace both have the potential to be the biggest selling model that Jaguar has ever produced – so the scope for growth is considerable.”
As to what the future holds, Mr Hicks would not be drawn on the long-serving Land Rover Defender’s successor but added that a £3 billion investment in product creation over the next 12 months will result in 12 new products.
He added: “Unfortunately I can’t give anything away about future product. All I will say is that we’ve got some very exciting plans for both brands.”