Engine plant provides the spark for growth
JAGUAR Land Rover’s decision to commit its new engine plant to the West Midlands is a terrific feather in the region’s cap and further underlines its credentials as a centre of global manufacturing excellence.
To say it is a welcome shot-in-the-arm to the region is an understatement. More than most, the West Midlands badly needed some welcome employment news.
Latest figures show the region has the second worst unemployment rate in the country and the highest number of people out of work anywhere outside of London and the South East.
More than 2,000 highly-skilled, added value manufacturing jobs are now destined for the plant and its immediate supply chain, sustaining an industry that for so long has defined the economic prosperity of the region.
Healthy automotive sector – healthy West Midlands, it’s as simple as that.
Credit must therefore be given to JLR parent, Tata Motors for its long-term growth strategy and a recognition of the skills this region has to offer.
A little over five years ago, the sector – and region in general – were left reeling with the collapse of MG Rover, while the fate of Jaguar and Land Rover was far from clear as its Ford parent failed to deliver any coherent strategy for growth.
Indeed, up until this year it was by no means certain both Castle Bromwich and Lode Lane would survive as the axe was held over them by a Tata Motors management intent on maximising its £1.15bn investment.
Now though, all this has disappeared. A long-running labour dispute has been successfully resolved – credit for which lies with both the workforce and management – and not only have both plants been reprieved, but a third one is now planned.
JLR is enjoying global growth like never before, backed by a dynamic, award-wining product range and future plans for hybrid sports and super cars plus a successor for the iconic Land Rover Defender – just some of a promised strategy which will deliver 40 new or upgraded models during the next five years.
Ending reliance on a third party for its engines means the company can set its own growth parameters and sustain that growth for as long as it needs.
Heady days indeed for Jaguar Land Rover – and for the West Midlands – long may they continue.